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NEOC to HEOC: smaller scale of operations, same mandate

Shahudha Mohamed
02 July 2020, MVT 15:18
Minister of Health Abdulla Ameen speaking at the last press conference hosted by the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC). PHOTO: NEOC
Shahudha Mohamed
02 July 2020, MVT 15:18

The state, on Wednesday night, dissolved the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), established to handle Maldives' COVID-19 response, and transferred its workings under the newly established Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC).

Speaking at NEOC's final press briefing held on Wednesday, Minister of Health Abdulla Ameen assured that the COVID-19 response operations will not be affected due to NEOC's disbandment.

"There will not be any major changes to the working staff due to the shift [from a national emergency operation] to a health emergency operation. However, the scale of the work we did all these days is being reduced", the minister said.

Although the operation will not be as extensive, Ameen guaranteed that every state institution will treat the operation with utmost importance until the health crisis passes.

"The biggest difference is in the work of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). But NDMA, and every other institution, will provide help whenever it is required".

NEOC was established on March 7, 2020, following the identification of the first COVID-19 case in Maldives.

As NEOC is dissolved after nearly four months of continuous operations and its mandate shifted under HEOC, Ameen stated that a spokesperson will be appointed for HEOC to disseminate updates about the centre's work to the public.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had formerly announced that NEOC will be disbanded on July 1, as Maldives entered the third phase of lifting the lockdown restrictions implemented across the Greater Male' Region to contain the virus, and begin adaptation to the 'new normal'.

Maldives presently records total of 2,382 confirmed cases, out of which 414 are active cases of COVID-19. Thus far, the country records 1,954 recoveries and ten 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 over 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 10.8 million people and claimed over 519,300 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 6 million people have recovered.