Minister of Health Abdulla Ameen declared that the state of Public Health Emergency declared in Maldives due to the global pandemic COVID-19 has been extended until June 29.
Maldives declared its first ever state of public health emergency, under Section 33 of the 7/2012 Public Health Act on over the COVID-19 pandemic from March 12 onwards for a period of 30 days. It was then extended twice, first on April 10 for 30 days, and then again till the end of May.
In the newly gazetted resolution, Minister Ameen stated that the decision to further extend is based on the counsel of Health Protection Agency (HPA)'s Director General of Public Health Maimoona Aboobakuru, starting that the danger of coronavirus has not yet come to an end.
On April 15, Maldivian authorities placed greater Male' region under lockdown for following the first confirmed case of local transmission in Maldives. As one of the most densely populated cities of the world, Male' experienced a significant increase in the number of positive cases since then. The lockdown measure was further extended with the government banning travel restrictions across the country.
With the lockdown ending on May 28, the authorities have announced the four-week-long first phase of easing out of the restrictions. Speaking at a press conference held at the National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC), Minister Ameen noted that the easing of restrictions will see movement within islands become less restrictive, the allowing of three individuals from each household in capital Male' to go outside for two hours with Maldives Police Service's authorization, in addition to issuing special permits for businesses.
The authorities emphasised that easing of lockdown restrictions did not mean that the virus has been eradicated, and reminded the pubic to bear in mind that a vaccine for COVID-19 is yet to be found. Hence, they urged the public to keep adhering to the government's instructions, and practise physical distancing, good hygiene and other precautionary measures for their protection and to curb the spread of infection as much as possible.
COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Maldives' large expatriate population, the majority of whom are Bangladeshi nationals and live in highly congested quarters where it is impossible to reduce contact or exercise social distancing.
Maldives presently records 1,457 confirmed and 1,210 active cases of COVID-19, with five fatalities and 242 recoveries.
WHO has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 5.7 million people and claimed over 357,467 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, 2.4 million people have recovered.