Samples regularly sent for gene sequencing: HEOC

Spokesperson of the Health Emergency Operation Centre (HEOC), Dr. Fathmath Nazla Rafeeq, has said the Maldives periodically sends samples for gene sequencing to identify variants of the COVID-19 virus.

A new, more powerful variant of the virus, Omicron, was identified in South Africa last week, and the world is scrambling to take steps to slow its spread.

In a news conference held by HEOC to update the public on the new variant, Nazla said since October 13, the Maldives have been sending samples abroad at regular intervals to identify which variants are spreading in the Maldives. Until now, 830 samples have been sent abroad for gene sequencing, she said.

'Every day, we send over 50 samples for sequencing,' she said.

Dr. Nazla said most of the samples tested positive for different Delta variants.

As per official statistics released by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), 3820 samples were tested for COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, out of which 76 samples came back positive. The Maldives' tally is 91,350, with 248 deaths recorded to date.