The Lockdown in Greater Male’ Area has been further extended to 14 days. Director General of Public Health, Maldives released a statement on 17th April 2020. On further extension of the lockdown following the development of a number of positive cases in Male’ area.
Since the first positive case in Male’ city on 15th April 2020, a number of cases have developed in just three days. 15 individuals were tested positive to the virus by 19th April 2020. While 04 individual clusters has been identified till date. This includes 14 Maldivian nationals and 01 individual from Bangladesh. Hence, the lockdown needed to be further extended to reduce the impact of the community spread.
The number of contacts is surprisingly a lot more in Male’ compared to the rest of the world. We have been continuously advising and urging the people to stay home. Social distancing needs to be taken seriously and strictly enforced. Wearing a mask is not sufficient now. The situation is very sad, and it could have been avoided at this scale.”Mabrook Azeez, Spokesperson, National Emergency Operations Center, NEOC, said during the virtual press conference
During the first virtual press conference held on 17th April 2020, Dr. Nazla urged the contacts to provide true information during this time. Addressing the community spread, she emphasized on the uncertainty of the situation and said that it would take 14 days to reach peak.
With the increase in the number of positive cases, it is no doubt the number of patients requiring hospitalization will be more. During another press conference held last night, Research Analyst, Dr. Sheena shed light on the statistics of the approximate number of cases which will arise with and without the necessary precautions and individual responsibilities. She also stated that the Maldives’ healthcare facilities do not have the capacity to treat a vast number of cases if the number of infected people suddenly rises. However, if the people work towards flattening the curve, the resources available will be sufficient to treat the patients.
As an individual, it is necessary to maintain social responsibilities by enforcing social distancing to prevent the further spread of the virus. It will obviously spread; none of us are immune to the virus. What we need to do is ensure the number of infected cases do not increase so much that it becomes impossible for the healthcare system to control the situation. Lets not go to that situation and work towards flattening the curve.Dr. Sheena Moosa
The government has been undertaking measures to increase the capacity of healthcare system in the Maldives. 55% of the medical staff has been training to treat COVID-19 patients. Mabrook said during the press conference that by 21st April 2020, the government will hopefully receive extra ventilators. Furthermore, volunteers will also be brought in to help if the situation calls for it.
The government has also announced that strict measures will be enforced in other parts of the country to ensure public health starting from 18:00 hours on 17th April 2020. As per the statement, movement between one island and the other will be restricted while public gatherings and meetings are also forbidden. Moreover, the police have started detaining those who are seen outside since 20:30 hours of 17th April 2020 and will continue to do so. This is to emphasize on the magnitude of the situation Maldives.
Following the full lockdown of Male’, Hulhumale’ and Villimale’, the President of Maldives has declared government offices to be closed from 19th April to 30th April 2020. Despite the closure of government offices, provision of all essential services to the public will continue.
State Trade Organisation (STO) has also guaranteed to purchase all goods produced in Maldives. The company will also help in distribution of goods to various parts of the country.
Tourism Ministry along with the government, has plans to allow extra resorts to be used as quarantine facilities as the need for it has grown. Hulhule Island hotel Maldives (HIH) has also been vacated in order to cater further quarantine facilities. Furthermore, Tourism Ministry has also been providing aid to a number of individuals working in the hospitality industry who have been stranded in the capital city.