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COVID-19: Maldives extends public health emergency till Dec 5

Shahudha Mohamed
05 November 2020, MVT 21:04
Frontline worker donned in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in a COVID-19 drill held in Malé City. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
05 November 2020, MVT 21:04

Mohamed Aslam, the acting Minister of Health, on Thursday, extended the State of Public Health Emergency, declared in Maldives due to the COVID-19 pandemic, until December 5.

Previously, the government has stretched the public emergency for over eight 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 seven times. The last extension was made on October 6, till November 5.

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 December 5 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 currently records a total of 11,822 virus cases of which 793 are active cases, in addition to 10,991 recoveries and 38 deaths.

During 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 in the most part of September and further decreased below 50 in October, with the exception of a few days where numbers spiked.

Within this same period, the number of recoveries saw a significant increase, bringing the number of recovered cases to over 90 percent.

Despite the sustained decrease in virus cases, HPA has renewed calls for citizens to adhere to protective measures to contain the spread of the virus, cautioning against a public sentiment that the outbreak has been “controlled”.

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 48.6 million people and claimed over 1.2 million lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 34.8 million people have recovered.

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