President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Wednesday evening announced plans to ease the nation-wide lockdown restrictions implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his address to the nation, President Solih revealed government’s decision to begin easing lockdown measures, after seeking technical advice of health professionals. Restrictions currently in place will be reversed in phases, and commence once the current lockdown period ends on May 28.
According to the president, the first phase will involve easing domestic travel restrictions, along with measures to ease the operation of private businesses.
The first phase will be followed by easing restrictions on public gatherings such as prayer congregations, schools and food outlets.
President Solih also announced government's intention to reopen its national airport, Velana International Airport in July, and plans to kickstart the economy by allowing to resume tourism industry operations.
In addition, islands without any COVID-19 cases will return to normalcy, with the reopening of schools and government offices.
Further details of the phase-out roadmap will be disseminated in the coming days, the President said.
On April 15, Maldivian authorities placed greater Male' region under lockdown for 24 hours after a Maldivian national living in the capital tested positive for COVID-19. Authorities have since continued to extend the lockdown, which is in effect until May 28, over a significant increase in COVID-19 cases since recording its first local transmission in Malé--one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
Presently, Maldives records 1,186 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 1091 active cases. The country has reported four fatalities and a total of 91 recoveries till date.
WHO has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 5 million people and claimed over 326,242 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, 1.98 million people have recovered.