Maldives still at risk, follow the instructions: Health Minister

Health Minister Abdulla Ameen has stated that the threat of COVID-19 still remains real for the Maldives and has urged all the citizens to follow the instruction given by the government and abide by the measures taken in the Maldives.

In a news brief held on Friday, the minister confirmed the country's first local case. The minister revealed that a 38 year old Maldivian who returned to the archipelago from UK had tested positive for the virus.

The person was isolated on 22 March as per protocol upon his arrival in the Maldives athough there was no symptom of the virus at that time. However, he developed symptoms on 25 March and tested positive on 27 March, said the minister.

Therefore, the decision to isolate all those who arrive from overseas has proven to be a necessary step, said the minister. He further said all must accept and agree on the fact that the virus still remains a threat to the Maldives. Therefore, everyone must abide by the measures taken to ensure the safety and security of all, urged the minister.

“Everyone of us have to accept the reality today; the importance of isolation, the essence of being isolated and that the threat of the virus is still very real. It is highly necessary to follow the instructions and abide by the measures taken currently in the Male’, nearby islands and in the atolls as it is for the protection of the whole population”, said Minister Ameen.

Minister Ameen said any measure the government takes is for the safety of everyone and is based on health experts’ advice. From the very first day, the Maldives has been working bearing in mind that the virus might be detected in the Maldives, further said Minister Ameen.

Ameen said even if some challenges will be faced due to the measures taken currently, this is the time to be patient to save lives. Moreover, being patient today will be a step taken for the safety of tomorrow.

“We urge all the citizens to patiently abide by all the measures taken. We have closed schools and offices as well as limited all the activities for people to stay at home in order to reduce the chance of spreading it even if anyone of us has contracted it without being aware that one is infected”, said Minister Ameen.

The government of Maldives has taken stringent measures to contain the spread of the global pandemic in the archipelago. In that regard, the government has banned tourist arrivals, and resort operations are almost at a halt. Furthermore, travel between resorts and the residential islands have been banned, and dine-in services offered in cafes and restaurants in the Male’ region are also banned. In addition, congregation prayers at mosques have been banned temporarily, and government offices, as well as schools, are closed. The government continues to stress the importance of remaining home at this crucial time.