The Health Protection Agency (HPA), on Monday, revealed that a total of 282 individuals were inoculated on the first day of Maldives' COVID-19 vaccine programme.
The government's immunisation drive commenced with the vaccination of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed and Chief Justice Ahmed Muhthasim Adnan.
In addition to the capital city of Male', vaccination was commenced at Kulhudhuffushi City in Haa Dhaalu Atoll and Addu City.
Vaccination was administered from six health facilities in the Greater Male' Region. These are Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH), ADK Hospital, Treetop Hospital, Hulhumale’ Hospital, Senahiya Military Hospital and Villimale’ Hospital.
As per the authorities, vaccines would initially be administered to frontline health professionals and individuals at a high risk of developing complications such as people aged 50 and above.
Following a donation by the Indian government, Maldives currently stocks 100,000 doses of the COVISHIELD vaccine, constituting enough to inoculate 50,000 people.
COVISHIELD was manufactured by the world's largest vaccine producer Serum Institute of India, using a formula prepared in a collaborative effort by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. British Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency approved the vaccine on December 30, 2020.
On Monday, Maldives recorded more than 200 daily cases for the first time since August 2, 2020. The country recently recorded a spike in COVID-19 cases, which has been increasing throughout January, with several clusters found in capital Male’ as well as some southern islands and operational resorts.
At present, the island nation records a total of 16,056 virus cases of which 1,807 are active cases, in addition to 14,190 recoveries and 52 deaths.
Last August, authorities tightened the safety measures implemented in the Greater Male' region, following an alarming upsurge of COVID-19 cases after the state initiated efforts to steer the country towards a 'new normal' with the phased easing of lockdown restrictions. After a long period of recording over 100 daily cases, the numbers fell to two-digits during the most part of September 2020.
Throughout the rest of last year, numbers slipped further down below 50, with a few spikes on rare occasions.
This prompted HPA to ease certain several safety measures imposed to control the spread of COVID-19. These leniencies included the cancellation of the city-wide curfew over the greater Male’ region, the reduction of quarantine periods to 10 days as well as cancelling mandatory quarantine for locals returning to Maldives and for locals travelling to resorts.
On March 12, 2020, WHO classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. To date, the new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 1 billion people and claimed over 2.2 million lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 75.7 million people have recovered.