COVID-19: Maldives' tally rises to 491 with 23 new cases

Additional people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Maldives, bringing the total number of people infected with the virus to 491.

Health Protection Authority said 23 positive cases were registered on Friday, a steep decline from the previous day where 167 new cases were identified.

The new cases are of twelve locals and nine Bangladeshi nationals, and two Indian nationals.

Maldives saw its first COVID-19 related fatality on Wednesday night when an 83-year old, who was a primary contact of a positive patient, passed away after having breathing difficulties. She was pronounced dead at state-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH), and her positive test results for COVID-19 came back after her demise. 17 people have recovered from the virus in the Maldives thus far.

Since the number of people who test positive has been escalating rapidly, the government has extended the lockdown imposed on the Greater Male' area for an additional 14 days. The lockdown was initially imposed until the end of this month when the first case of local transmission was identified in Male' city on April 15. The virus has been detected in several islands since then.