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No vaccine shortage, stricter measures will be taken if needed: HEOC

Lamya Abdulla
29 April 2021, MVT 20:44
Dr Shah Abdulla Mathir talking at HEOC media briefing on Thursday -- Photo: HEOC
Lamya Abdulla
29 April 2021, MVT 20:44

Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC), assured on Thursday, that there was no vaccine shortage in the country and the authorities will take stricter measures if necessary.

To address the recent spike in COVID-19 positives in the country, HEOC held a media briefing where they addressed public concerns.

Minister of State for Health Dr. Shah Abdulla Mathir, Head of Atoll Preparedness Abdulla Mauroof, and Dr. Nazla Musthafa from Technical Advisory Group joined the briefing.

Dr. Shah said there are enough vaccines for everyone eligible and encouraged everybody to get both doses of the vaccine on a timely manner. He reassured that the vaccine program was planned in a manner that ensures a constant supply of vaccines. He added that the government was not backing down in their initiative to vaccinate everyone in the country.

"Out of eligible population, 67 percent have got the first dose of the vaccine so far. That is 52 percent of the total population. About 30 percent people have gotten both doses of the vaccine so far," he said.

Over 20,000 people are currently eligible to get the second dose of the vaccine, Dr. Shah said. However, with the shorter vaccination timings due to Ramadan, it is increasingly difficult for people to get their required shot.

"We are observing the increasing cases. If the technical team notices, at a research level, and after discussing the matter at a policy level, once we reach the cut-off level, we will be taking the appropriate steps," - State for Health Dr. Shah Abdulla Mathir

Despite multiple journalists asking, none of the HEOC representatives divulged how many doses of vaccines is currently available in Maldives.

Over the past week, COVID positivity rate has increased to 11 percent. Ideally, the positivity rate should be below five percent.

According to Dr. Shah the restrictive measures currently in place were taken after considering the possibility that new variants of the coronavirus may already be present in the Maldives. He urged everyone to take the safety measures seriously and continue washing their hands and wearing the mask, as instructed before.

"[Restrictive] measures is not bringing the country to a lockdown alone," Dr. Shah said.

The government is reluctant take more severe measures as it would negatively impact the current economy. However, they will take stricter measures if necessary, Dr. Shah said.

"We are observing the increasing cases. If the technical team notices, at a research level, and after discussing the matter at a policy level, once we reach the cut-off level, we will be taking the appropriate steps," Shah said.

As per the daily COVID statistics released by Health Protection Agency (HPA) every evening at 2200hrs, Maldives has broken several of its previous most positive cases within a twenty four hour period within the last week alone. On Wednesday, the country saw daily COVID positives above 400 for the first time, at 464. Even though the number of people requiring hospitalization is decreasing, right now there are over 4,396 active cases. That is the highest that number has ever been.

So far 29,052 people have tested positive for COVID-19, while 73 people have passed due to the disease.

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