Minister of Health Abdulla Ameen on Monday night extended the State of Public Health Emergency, declared in Maldives due to the COVID-19 pandemic, until July 14.
The island nation declared its first ever state of public health emergency, under Section 33 of the 7/2012 Public Health Act, over the COVID-19 pandemic on March 12 for a period of 30 days. It since been extended three times, the last being until June 29.
In the newly gazetted resolution, the health minister stated that he decided to extend the emergency until July 14 based on the counsel of Health Protection Agency (HPA)'s Director General of Public Health Maimoona Aboobakuru.
According to the minister, Director General Maimoona warned that the danger of community spread of the coronavirus has not passed, and thus special measures must continue to be implemented to ensure the safety and health of the general public.
The extension of the public health emergency comes amidst the phased easing of lockdown restrictions, which was imposed across the capital region on April 15. The first phase of easing lockdown began on May 28, and the second phase on June 14, in an attempt to kickstart the economy and establish the 'new normal' on living through the pandemic.
However, the authorities have repeatedly emphasised that easing of lockdown restrictions did not mean that the virus has been eradicated, and urged the public to keep practising physical distancing, good hygiene and other precautionary measures to curb the spread of infection as much as possible.
Maldives presently has a total of 2,337 confirmed cases, out of which 397 are active cases of COVID-19. Thus far, the country records 1,927 recoveries and eight fatalities.
As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, Maldives' capital Malé recorded a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in the first weeks following the first confirmed local transmission on April 15.
However, the number of recoveries have continued to rise, with roughly 82 percent of patients now recovered.
On March 12, WHO classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. To date, the new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 10.3 million people and claimed over 506,000 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 5.6 million people have recovered.