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Maldives to reopen government offices on August 9

Mariyam Malsa
06 August 2020, MVT 18:42
Civil servants in the capital city of Male' during the new normal. AHMED AWSHAN ILYAS/ MIHAARU
Mariyam Malsa
06 August 2020, MVT 18:42

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Thursday, declared that all government offices across the country would reopen on August 9.

Following the Independence Day holidays and the subsequent Eid break, President Solih revealed his decision to close government institutions from August 4 to 6 as a precautionary measure against the further spread of COVID-19 in Maldives.

Government offices have remained closed since July 26.

The president's directive instructed all islands with active cases to adhere to certain measures and also elaborated on general guidelines to be followed in all government offices across the country.

Measures to be followed on islands with active cases

- Implementing work-from-home policies in all possible circumstances

- Arrange work duties in a manner that requires the lowest number of employees, as per instructions by the minister or department head

- Divide staff into teams and mobilise different teams on specific working days if possible

- Allocate different services for particular working days depending on the type of service provided by the institution, its resources and number of workers

General guidelines for government offices

- Follow hygiene and sanitation guidelines as well as social distancing measures finalised by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Health Protection Agency

- Continue online services and shift the provision of additional services by state institutions and offices to online platforms

- Arrange duties in a manner that ensures that employees do not continue working during non-business hours and encourage staff to complete duties within working hours

- Avoid keeping offices open past 1400 hrs for any unessential work, with the exception of institutions that work in shifts

- Avoid keeping offices open past 1600 hrs even in situations that institutions continue operating during non-business hours for essential purposes

- Create and implement policies to reduce printing costs and digitalize documents in order to create a paperless work environment

- Take all possible steps to reduce government expenditure in order to reduce the pandemic's strains on Maldives' national budget

According to the statistics publicized by the Health Emergency Operation Centre (HEOC) last week, the highest numbers of close contacts reported by COVID-19 patients were connected to offices.

A marked increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases occurred after the state eased lockdown restrictions across the Greater Male' Region. The government initiated efforts to steer the country toward a 'new normal' in response to a sustained decrease of cases in May and early June.

The total percentage of recovered patients has fallen from the peak 86 to 60 percent due to the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases.

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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