The Edition


COVID-19: Maldives extends public health emergency till Oct 6

Fathmath Shaahunaz
06 September 2020, MVT 23:19
People go about their daily lives in the bustling Maldivian capital Male' amidst the 'new normal'. Authorities have continually requested the public to adhere to the Health Protection Agency (HPA)'s safety guidelines in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. PHOTO: AHMED AWSHAN ILYAS / MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
06 September 2020, MVT 23:19

Mohamed Aslam, the acting Minister of Health, on Sunday night extended the State of Public Health Emergency, declared in Maldives due to the COVID-19 pandemic, until October 6.

Previously, the government has stretched the public emergency for over six months.

The island nation declared its first-ever state of public health emergency, under Section 33 of the 7/2012 Public Health Act, over the COVID-19 pandemic on March 12 for a period of 30 days. It has since been extended five times. The last extension was made on August 7, till September 6.

In the newly gazetted resolution, Minister of National Planning, Housing and Infrastructure Mohamed Aslam, who is the acting head of the health ministry, stated that he decided to extend the emergency until October 6 based on the counsel of Health Protection Agency (HPA)'s Director General of Public Health Maimoona Aboobakuru.

The minister noted that the danger of community spread of the coronavirus has not passed, and thus special measures must continue to be implemented to ensure the safety and health of the general public, as per the director general.

Maldives now records total 8,584 confirmed and 2,613 active COVID-19 cases, along with 5,936 recoveries and 29 deaths.

Currently, the island nation records the highest number of daily COVID-19 cases confirmed per capita in the entire globe.

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 recoveries, which consisted of 86 percent of total infections at peak recovery rate, currently stands at 69 percent.

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.

Experts have described Maldives' current situation as a "dire" one. The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) announced that Maldives' current alert level is at nine, noting that authorities may have to implement a second lockdown if the alert level hits 10.

Noting the economic repercussions of implementing lockdown measures again, authorities have continually requested the public to adhere to HPA's safety guidelines to reduce the spread of the virus as life continues in the 'new normal'.

Authorities are now shutting down establishments that violate HPA's guidelines. The state has also announced a curfew from 2200hrs to 0500hrs in the Greater Male' region, where the spread is centred, as a precautionary measure to curb the virus spread.

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 27.2 million people and claimed over 885,900 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 19.2 million people have recovered.