Maldives lifts State of Public Health Emergency

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Sunday evening announced his decision to lift the state of public health emergency in force since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The emergency state was first invoked by former Health Minister Abdulla Ameen on March 12, 2020, for a period of 30 days by the discretionary powers vested in the minister by Section 33 of the 7/2012 Public Health Act. The measure was taken after the World Health Organization (WHO) classified the current COVID-19 outbreak as a global 'pandemic'. Since then, the state of public health emergency has been extended 24 times, most recently on February 28.

The President announced his decision to lift the state of public health emergency in a televised address to the nation. In his address, the President said the decision was made after consulting with public health experts. Like other countries, the Maldives will also focus on protecting those vulnerable to the disease, reducing the number of hospitalizations and deaths, and maintaining the COVID-19 situation such that all necessary services can be provided without interruption, the President said.

Following the lifting of the public health emergency, President Solih said the Ministry of Health would announce the way forward, including measures to monitor and keep the spread of the coronavirus in check. The ministry would also draw up and implement a national strategy and action plan as part of its COVID-19 response.

President Solih also shed light on the socio-economic setbacks the Maldives has faced over the past two years. He attributed Maldives' success in controlling the spread of the coronavirus to the general public's and private parties' full cooperation and support for the administration's preventative measures.

The President estimated the Maldives' economy incurred approximately MVR 71.3 billion in losses due to the pandemic. Emphasising that our international partners, global organisations and neighbouring countries played a pivotal role in the Maldives' overcoming the situation, President Solih went on to express his profound gratitude for the concerted effort by everyone to alleviate the people's burdens during this trying time.