The Ministry of Education, on Thursday, extended the closure of schools in the Greater Male' Region by an additional two weeks in connection to the surge of COVID-19 cases in the area.
The ministry revealed that the decision to close all schools in Male' and its suburbs Hulhumale' and Vilimale' until September 17, was reached after consultations with relevant institutions including the Health Protection Agency (HPA).
As per the education ministry, the public health situation will be taken into consideration following the two-week closure, before further decisions regarding schools are finalised.
After a long period of closure since March 12 to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Maldives, teaching for all grades across the country resumed on July 1, except in the capital area.
Schools located in Male', the epicentre of Maldives' COVID-19 outbreak, only commenced teaching for grades nine to 12, while online lessons were provided for students of lower grades.
In response to a second surge of COVID-19 cases, the Ministry of Education once again closed all schools in the Male' region for a two-week period on August 4. The closure was extended by another two weeks following the expiry of the initial period.
At present, the country records total 8,140 confirmed and 2,767 active COVID-19 cases, along with 5,338 recoveries and 29 deaths.
After recording significantly low numbers in the months of May and June, the island nation recorded a significant rise in the number of COVID-19 cases per capita, indicating an alarming community spread in the country.
The number of COVID-19 cases 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.
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 26.2 million people and claimed over 868,000 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 18.4 million people have recovered.