Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC), on Tuesday night, announced that the Greater Male' area would likely be placed under lockdown for a second time should the COVID-19 alert level rise to 10.
At present, the COVID-19 alert level for Male' stands at level 9, just one notch below the HEOC's lockdown recommendation.
Speaking at HEOC's press conference, senior member of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Dr Ahmed Shaheed stated that the alert level in Maldives was being measured on a weekly basis, with different factors taken into account.
These include the number of infections identified from flu clinics, COVID-19 patients' bed occupancy, doubling time for the number of cases, number of unlinked cases and number of deaths.
"If [the alert level] rises to 10 on our scoring system, that means very strong measures must be taken, including re-implementing the lockdown", he said.
Stressing that the current situation is dire, he revealed that "last week the score indicated level nine".
If the situation worsens and the health sector's capacity reaches its peak, Dr Shaheed noted that measures as drastic as shutting down all offices will be implemented.
However, he noted that lockdown will be considered as a last resort measure, adding that authorities were trying every possibility to avoid re-implementing a lockdown.
Dr Shaeed stated that efforts are underway to establish treatment facilities and quarantine facilities, in addition to bringing in doctors and nurses from the atolls to Male' area, where the majority of virus cases are being identified.
He urged the public to adhere to the Health Protection Agency (HPA)'s safety guidelines at all times, always wear face masks in public and avoid going out unless necessary.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Maldives skyrocketed after the state initiated efforts to steer the country towards a 'new normal' with the phased easing of lockdown restrictions across the Greater Male' Region. As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, Maldives' capital Malé continues to record a significant number of COVID-19 cases, similar to the first weeks following the first confirmed local transmission on April 15.
The island nation now records total 7,047 confirmed and 2,580 active COVID-19 cases, along with 4,439 recoveries and 28 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 24 million people and claimed over 823,500 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 16.6 million people have recovered.