The Edition


President Solih waives import duty on personal protective equipment

Ali Shareef
28 April 2020, MVT 13:10
A screengrab of the live address by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Wednesday, following the first community spread case of COVID-19 in the Maldives and in capital city Male'. PHOTO: PRESIDENT'S OFFICE
Ali Shareef
28 April 2020, MVT 13:10

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Sunday waived import duty and processing fees for medical personal protective equipment during the public health emergency period declared over the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

Maldives Customs Service (MSC) confirmed the president's decision to exempt import duties and processing fees on medical personal protective equipment including goggles, protective gowns and coveralls, hazmat suits, surgeon caps, and shoe covers, in effect from April 26 until the presently-declared public health emergency is lifted.

As per the Export-Import Act, the president holds the power to waive customs duty on certain goods and items under special circumstances such as during a public health emergency.

President Solih in March slashed import duty on hand sanitisers, surgical and protective masks, face shields, protective gloves, hand wash and disinfectants, in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within the community.

Maldives declared a state of public health emergency on March 12 after the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized the current COVID-19 outbreak as a global pandemic. On April 10, Minister of Health Abdulla Ameen extended the public health emergency duration until April 30.

Since then, capital city Malé, one of the most densely populated cities in the world, has recorded a significant increase in COVID-19 cases. On April 15, the capital recorded its first local transmission of the virus, involving a Maldivian woman that sought assistance from a flu clinic in Malé after developing symptoms.

Presently, Maldives records 226 confirmed, 209 active and two probable cases of COVID-19, with a total of 17 recoveries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 3 million people and claimed over 211,600 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 922,300 people have recovered.