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Police raise four charges against Kuredu Resort

Nafaahath Ibrahim
19 May 2020, MVT 22:08
Aerial photograph of Kuredu Island Resort. PHOTO: KUREDU ISLAND RESORT
Nafaahath Ibrahim
19 May 2020, MVT 22:08

Maldives Police Service, on Monday, revealed four charges authorities are seeking against Crown and Champa Resorts, Kuredu Island Resort's management company, over issues connected to the country's first COVID-19 case.

The Italian tourist, then-vacationing at Kuredu, moved to Maagiri Hotel on March 1-2, after being unable to depart for Italy as initially planned.

The company previously released a statement with regards to the case, denying any negligence on their part.

Legal counsel for Crown and Champa Resorts, former Prosecutor-General Muhthaz Muhusin iterated the sentiment, added that the company had given its statement to Police rejecting the allegations.

Speaking to local media Mihaaru, Muhuthaz stated that, in dealing with the Italian tourist, the resort followed all the guidelines set in place by the government at that time.

He noted that there was no communication from Health Protection (HPA) to the resort's clinic even at the time of the tourist's departure.

Per Muhthaz, at that time, the only notice they received was from the Ministry of Tourism, which was made in regard to arrivals from China.

Furthermore, he revealed that the tourist-in-concern was a cardiac patient and had received related treatment at the resort as well as at the airport.

Noting that Kuredu Resort was the first party to receive information after the tourist was found positive, Muhthaz insisted that if there was any intention of secrecy, the company would not have revealed as such either.

Charges levied against the company, per the Penal Code:

- Under Section 121 (a) Offense Defined. A person commits an offence if he recklessly creates a substantial risk to another of serious bodily injury or death

- Under Section 533 (a) Offense Defined. A person commits an offence if he: (1) knowingly obstructs, impairs, or perverts the administration of law or other governmental function by (2) (A) physical interference or obstacle, breach of official duty, or any unlawful act;

- Under Section 615 (a) Offense Defined. A person commits an offence if, knowing his conduct will harass, annoy, or alarm another person in public, he: (1) engages in fighting, or in violent or threatening behaviour, or (2) makes unreasonable noise, or (3) uses abusive or obscene language, or makes an obscene gesture, or (4) persistently follows a person in or about a public place or places, or (5) solicits sexual contact, or (6) creates a hazardous, physically offensive, or seriously alarming condition by an act that serves no legitimate purpose.

- Under Section 618 (a) Offense Defined. A person commits an offence if: (1) he unreasonably fails to: (A) give warning of a known risk to a person in danger, or (B) render assistance to a person in need; and (2) he could give warning or render assistance (A) with no more than minimal risk of physical harm to himself or any other person, and (B) without forgoing a superior duty imposed on him by law or contract.

On March 19, authorities claimed that the management of Kuredu Island Resort and Spa deliberately delayed reporting the first case of COVID-19 in the country.

Speaking at a press conference, Assistant Commissioner of Police Mohamed Riyaz revealed the then-symptomatic Italian first visited the resort's resident doctor on February 26, returning to the doctor the next day with further complications. However, the patient was identified as having a medical history that may present symptoms similar to that of the virus. Riyaz stated that as that tests were required to diagnose the possible infection, the doctor recommended bed rest after which the patient was transferred back to the hotel room and kept in isolation.

In lieu of the above, the police stated that the resort's doctor did not call HPA hotline to report the issue despite the patient showing symptoms.

Upon further testing, five additional people from the resort tested positive for coronavirus. Kuredu Resort was the first place in Maldives to be placed under lockdown amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Since then, Maldives has identified a spread of the disease throughout communities and presently records 1,106 total persons found positive for the disease with 1,028 active cases. The country has reported four fatalities and a total of 74 recoveries till date.

Maldives' capital Malé, one of the most densely populated cities in the world, has recorded a significant increase in COVID-19 since recording its first local transmission of the virus on April 15.

WHO has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 4.9 million people and claimed over 320,448 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, 1.9 million people have recovered.

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