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COVID-19: Cases spike over 100, resort clusters grow

Shahudha Mohamed
24 January 2021, MVT 23:15
A frontline worker collecting random samples. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
24 January 2021, MVT 23:15

The Health Protection Agency (HPA), on Sunday, announced that 108 more people tested positive for COVID-19 in Maldives, while 36 recovered from the disease.

According to the agency, 79 of the new cases were detected from the Greater Male' Region. Five cases were identified in inhabited islands and the remaining 23 cases were from operational resorts.

Speaking at the press briefing held on Sunday night by the Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC), the centre's Spokesperson Dr Nazla Rafeeq stated that 50 of the new cases were contacts of positive cases while the remaining 58 were independent cases.

She added that Kolhufushi island in Meemu Atoll is currently under monitoring, due to an individual who had tested positive positive for the virus, two days after their arrival at capital Male' from the island.

Providing the latest updates on the recent clusters found across the country, resulting in a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, Dr Nazla stated that the Dhevvadhoo cluster had grown to 83, becoming the largest cluster on an inhabited island recorded outside the capital region.

Several clusters are present in resorts across the country as well, with the number of positives from Anantara Kihaavah Resort at 31, Residence Maldives resort at 15, Oblu Select at Sangali resort at 83, and Iruveli resort at six.

Maldives now records a total of 14,993 virus cases of which 1,086 are active cases, in addition to 13,849 recoveries and 51 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.

However, cases have been on the rise throughout January 2021, with active cases surpassing the 1,000-mark after months of recording three-digit numbers. New clusters were identified on operational resorts as well as several islands in the south.

HPA recently eased several safety measures imposed to control the spread of COVID-19. These leniencies include 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.

But the agency 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, 2020, WHO classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. To date, the new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 99.5 million people and claimed over 2.1 million lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 71.5 million people have recovered.

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