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Maldives holds world's first fully-digitalized Parliament sitting

Ali Shareef
30 March 2020, MVT 19:07
Speaker of Parliament, President Mohamed Nasheed speaking at the first-ever fully digitized parliament sitting held in the Maldives on March 30, 2020. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Ali Shareef
30 March 2020, MVT 19:07

Maldives Parliament went live on Monday, streaming the first-ever fully digitalized sitting to take place worldwide.

The sitting was broadcasted live on local TV channels and live-streamed on Parliament's YouTube channel.

According to Parliament, the decision to shift the sitting online was made in a bid to "allow the functions of the legislature to continue unimpeded during the COVID-19 crisis".

The 23rd sitting of the first session of 2020, was held using Microsoft Teams software after Parliament's General Purpose Committee passed a motion to allow sittings to be conducted via a web conference in which all 87 parliamentarians, along with the Secretary-General, Counsel General, Sergeant at Arms and other administrative staff were able to participate.

A total of 46 members participated in today's live-broadcasted session, to deliberate on government's relief response to mitigate the economic repercussions over COVID-19, a motion submitted by the ruling party's parliamentary group leader Ali Azim.

Prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, the Maldives health ministry declared a state of public health emergency on March 12, under which the government has temporarily closed down all government offices and educational institutions, urging the public to practice good hygiene, social distancing and stay home unless absolutely necessary.

Institutions and businesses around the country and around the world, are either closing shop or moving to work in the digital space whenever and wherever possible as a move to 'flatten the curve' or reduce risk of infection and spread by 'social distancing' or decreasing contact and exposure.

Maldives currently has four active cases of COVID-19, which consist of two Maldivians quarantined after returning from the United Kingdom (UK) and two Italians that tested positive after departing from the country.

The World Health Organization has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected over 734,900 people and claimed over 34,700 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 155,000 people have recovered.

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