One week: 13,880 positive cases, five deaths

The Maldives is experiencing an alarming surge in COVID-19 infections, with over 13,880 people testing positive over a week. Positive cases are increasing in the Greater Male' Region and atolls and resorts.

The past seven days have been recorded as the week with the highest number of cases, with 7,520 cases in the Male' region alone. On some days, the positivity rate in Male' exceeded 36 percent. With 3,951 cases recorded in the atolls, operational resorts have reported 568 cases in the last week. Additional cases have also been recorded from safaris and industrial islands. Five deaths were recorded this week, out of which four were recorded on a single day.

January 17 - 1,420 cases
January 18 - 1,594 cases
January 19 - 2,137 cases
January 20 - 2,199 cases
January 21 - 1,697 cases
January 22 - 2,349 cases
January 23 - 2,484 cases

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has said the Maldives' situation is expected to worsen further. As per HPA, the current surge has not reached its peak yet - during the peak, the number of daily cases is expected to be well over 4,000, up to 6,000 daily cases. However, HPA said the situation could be avoided if proper measures were implemented.

The number of patients requiring hospitalization is also increasing. Until the current surge, some facilities remained vacant with no patients admitted at the centers. No patients were admitted to ICUs.

However, the current statistics by HPA show 47 patients are admitted at hospitals at this time - 16 at Dharumavantha Hospital in capital Male', 37 at the Hulhumale' Medical Facility, one at both the Addu COVID Facility and Baa Atoll Facility. While seven are admitted to the ICU, four are on ventilator support. A patient admitted to the ICU passed away over the past 24 hours.

HPA has said 3,696 samples were sent abroad to be tested for the Omicron variant of the virus and that 74 samples were confirmed to be of the Omicron variant. The most recent batch of samples was sent abroad on January 11, and 50 out of the 100 samples tested were of the Omicron variant. The results show the new variant is likely to spread rapidly in the Maldives and is believed to be the reason for the current surge in infections.

HPA has facilitated more accessible testing arrangements and has started testing using antigen tests. Special zones have been allocated for rapid testing, which gives the result in just 15 to 20 minutes. Antigen testing is available at the Hulhumale' Ruhgandu area, the Henveiru Stadium, and the Social Center. An additional testing center will be established at Hulhumale' Phase II, and two more centers in Male'.