Health Emergency Operation Centre (HEOC), on Sunday, revealed the likelihood that community spread of COVID-19 was occurring in Dhevvadhoo, Gaafu Alif Atoll, for some time.
HEOC Spokesperson and Health Protection Agency (HPA)'s Medical Officer Dr Nazla Rafeeq stated that the virus was spreading within the population of Dhevvadhoo before several infected patients mingled with the community after completing their quarantine period, due to misinformation about test results.
It was previously announced that Dhevvadhoo was placed under monitoring after a number of individuals who travelled from Male’ to the island tested positive for the virus.
Fonadhoo and Gan in Laamu Atoll were also placed under monitoring on Saturday, after four individuals who travelled to Fonadhoo from Dhevvadhoo tested positive for COVID-19.
According to HEOC, the total number of positive cases recorded as a result of the Dhevvadhoo cluster had now increased to 22. While 16 of these individuals remain on the island, four were confirmed to have the virus after travelling to Fonadhoo, Laamu Atoll and the remaining two tested positive after travelling to Hulhumale' in the Greater Male' Region.
HPA revealed that a total of 163 samples were collected thus far as part of contact tracing efforts.
HEOC maintains its instruction for any persons who travelled out of Dhevvadhoo after November 30, 2020, to undergo a COVID-19 test as soon as possible, from the closest health facility or flu clinic available.
The centre also requested travellers who had left Dhevvadhoo after December 25, 2020, to undergo testing as well, in addition to completing a 14-day quarantine, starting from the day they had travelled from the island.
Maldives currently records a total of 14,109 virus cases of which 717 are active cases, in addition to 13,336 recoveries and 49 deaths.