Undocumented expats hesitate to give info: HPA

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has revealed that the authority is facing some challenges in obtaining information from undocumented expatriate workers under their efforts to identify contacts of those testing positive for COVID-19.

Speaking at Sunday night's press conference by the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), Dr. Ibrahim Afzal said expatriate workers are at high risk of contracting the disease, and that authorities are facing difficulties in obtaining information from undocumented expatriates.

"When we ask them questions, they will immediately deny having met a specific person, and they deny having gone to a certain location. Even if we ask them the questions while knowing the answer, they still hesitate to give information due to their [undocumented] status," said Dr. Afzal.

Authorities have initiated special efforts to educate expatriates on the importance of giving accurate information, and immediately reporting any symptoms of COVID-19, said Dr. Afzal.

Since the detection of the first case of local transmission of COVID-19 on April 15, the numbers have been increasing rapidly. The Maldives recorded its highest single-day jump in positive cases on Sunday with 73 new cases. The total number of positive cases identified in the Maldives is now 214.

Authorities are monitoring congested accommodation facilities of over 800 expatriates which could become possible hotspots for COVID-19 infections. HPA is collecting samples from the facilities to ensure if the highly communicable disease has already affected those at the facilities.