'Contagion will reach peak after lockdown is lifted'

Health officials have stated that the transmission of COVID-19 in Maldives will reach its peak once the lockdown imposed on the Male' area is lifted.

In response to a reporters' inquiry during Saturday night's National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) press briefing, Dr. Ibrahim Afzal said the true extent of the spread of contagion will not become evident during a lockdown, and said the rate of transmission will not reach its peak under restricted conditions.

"The true peak will not be reached during a lockdown. The peak will most likely be reached once the restrictions are lifted. But we will know that only through the results and effectiveness of actions we have already taken," said the doctor.

Afzal reiterated that the lockdown cannot be maintained forever, and said the public must learn to live with the disease and bring lifestyle changes accordingly. He added that there would be little benefit in contact tracing if the virus spreads across Maldives, and decisions such as keeping infected patients under home quarantine will be made from then on.

Male' city was placed under lockdown after the first case of local transmission was identified in the capital on April 15. The numbers have continued to rise rapidly since then, with the total tallying to 177 as of now.