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HEOC to assume responsibility of testing outgoing tourists

Mariyam Malsa
06 August 2020, MVT 22:20
Health Emergency Operation Centre (HEOC)’s Spokesperson and Health Protection Agency (HPA)’s Medical Officer Dr Nazla Rafeeq speaking at one of HEOC’s press conferences. PHOTO: HEOC
Mariyam Malsa
06 August 2020, MVT 22:20

The Health Emergency Operation Centre (HEOC), on Wednesday, revealed that it would assume the responsibility of arranging COVID-19 tests for tourists leaving Maldives.

According to initially compiled standard operating procedures, diagnostic tests for outgoing tourists would be conducted via ADK Hospital in the capital city of Male'.

Speaking at a press conference, HEOC spokesperson and Health Protection Agency (HPA)’s Medical Officer Dr Nazla Rafeeq disclosed that a considerable backlog of samples had accumulated at ADK.

Furthermore, she noted that COVID-19 testing was not being conducted smoothly via other private facilities as per arrangements finalised and conveyed to resorts.

Under the new procedure, HEOC will be sent departure lists in advance, after which the centre will arrange tests for the tourists.

Following nearly four months of lockdown, Maldives reopened its borders to international passengers on July 15 in response to consistently lower numbers of new cases for several weeks in May and early June.

Authorities have assured that adequate safety protocols to manage COVID-19 are in place at Velana International Airport (VIA).

Holidaymakers arriving in Maldives are required to observe social distancing measures and wear facemasks as per guidelines issued by HPA. While all passengers will undergo thermal screening, individuals with high temperatures, breathing difficulties or other symptoms will be referred to the airport clinic.

Maldives currently records total 4,594 confirmed and 1,869 active COVID-19 cases, along with 2,706 recoveries and 19 deaths.

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 19 million people and claimed over 711,600 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 12.1 million people have recovered.

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