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COVID-19: Maldives' epidemic monitoring score slips down from 9 to 7

Shahudha Mohamed
20 September 2020, MVT 08:43
Technical Advisory Group (TAG)'s representative and Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH)'s doctor Ahmed Shaheed speaking at a press briefing held by the Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC). PHOTO: HEOC
Shahudha Mohamed
20 September 2020, MVT 08:43

On Saturday night, authorities announced that the current epidemic monitoring score of Maldives is at seven, indicating a more stable situation compared to the month of August when the number rose to an alarming nine.

Speaking at the press briefing held by Health Emergency Operation Centre (HEOC), the Technical Advisory Group (TAG)'s representative and Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH)'s doctor Ahmed Shaheed described that the situation in Maldives is "plateauing", based on the current trends.

"But it is too soon to say [the situation] is improving", he added, noting that despite certain upswings, the overall picture does not allow for the public to revert back to their old habits, until a permanent solution is reached.

Asserting that the "numbers are directly connected to people's behaviour", Dr Shaheed stated that authorities will not ease the current precautionary measures set in place just yet.

According to statistics, the number of positives recorded from flu clinics in the month of September averaged at 13 -- a number Dr Shaheed described as "better" than August's value of 20, but "not great".

The past month saw health professionals distressed over the number of COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalisation, with the looming possibility of the health sector collapsing under the overwhelming number of cases. However, stats show that the bed occupancy which rose to a "concerning" 80 percent in August has now decreased to 52 percent.

Despite the improvements in the aforementioned area, Maldives recorded four virus-related deaths last week. Dr Shaheed explained that the fatality rate was the one variable that fluctuated most dramatically, noting that the weekly fatalities recorded within the past months have varied between the lowest number of zero and highest number of four.

The number of unlinked cases recorded recently has remained more or less the same, as per statistics.

However, Dr Shaheed noted that the doubling time for infections, which indicates the number of days for virus cases to increase by twofold, has now increased to 50 to 70 days.

Since a higher doubling time reflects a lower rate of transmission, Dr Shaheed declared that this was an improvement compared to August's doubling time of 30 days.

The number of daily COVID-19 cases have recently slipped down to two-digits after authorities tightened safety measures to tackle an upsurge of infections in the months of July and August after the state initiated efforts to steer the country towards a 'new normal' with the phased easing of lockdown restrictions.

Experts have stated that the effects of implementing stricter measures will be reflected in the case numbers towards the end of the month.

Maldives currently records a total of 9,649 virus cases of which 1,422 are active cases, in addition to 8,188 recoveries and 33 deaths.

In addition to Male' area, 52 cases are present across 22 inhabited islands while infections are present in 25 resorts, including 15 tourists and 39 staff members.

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 30.8 million people and claimed over 958,500 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 22.4 million people have recovered.

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