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COVID-19: Wedding party cluster grows to 102 cases

Mariyam Malsa
25 January 2021, MVT 16:16
Health professionals at the Hulhumale' Medical Facility established to treat COVID-19 patients. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/ MIHAARU
Mariyam Malsa
25 January 2021, MVT 16:16

The Health Protection Agency (HPA), on Sunday, revealed that a total of 102 individuals connected to the cluster identified from the wedding party held in the capital city of Male' in December 2020, have now tested positive for COVID-19.

At present, no deaths are recorded within this cluster.

Although the function, held at the Society for Health Education (SHE) building, was attended by 120 individuals, those who were confirmed to have the virus also include close contacts that did not attend the wedding.

Several children and high risk individuals from the cluster tested positive for COVID-19 with three children below the age of ten currently receiving treatment after contracting the virus.

According to the HPA dashboard, 13 of the 102 individuals in the wedding cluster are considered active cases while the remaining 89 have recovered.

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.

In response HPA 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.

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.

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 99.8 million people and claimed over 2.1 million lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 71.7 million people have recovered.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article stated that the wedding cluster included one fatality. HPA later updated its dashboard to exclude this case, decreasing the total number of cases in the cluster to 102.

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