Maldives ready for upcoming COVID-19 surge: Tourism Minister

Tourism Minister Ali Waheed has stated that the government is ready to face the 'peak' days of COVID-19 transmission in the Maldives.

Maldives has recorded over 850 positive cases and three deaths linked to COVID-19 thus far. Health authorities have been warning that a surge is expected over the next two weeks, with the country reaching the peak of transmission by the end of the month.

Speaking at a press briefing held at the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) on Monday, Minister Waheed said the country will be facing the most challenging days during the current pandemic in a few days' time, and stressed on the importance of complying with the instructions given by the authorities at this critical time.

Noting that the government has been bracing for the surge, and several measures are being taken to mitigate the damages caused, the minister said isolation arrangements that can cater to all of Maldives have been established in anticipation of the surge. The facilities being established in reclaimed suburbs Hulhumale' and Vilivaru island will reach completion soon, said the minister.

Assuring that the government has not decided to impose further restrictions during the 'peak' period, the minister said the current arrangements for grocery shopping and food deliveries will be maintained. However, the work being carried out by front-line workers will be further strengthened during the period, said the minister.

The minister added that a shipment of 20,000 N95 masks and 5000 suits purchased by the ministry has now reached the Maldives. Four thermal cameras each have been given to both Maldives Police Service and Maldives National Defense Force, he added.

Minister Ali Waheed noted that other resources needed at this critical time are being donated by the tourism industry. In this regard, over 3000 guest rooms have been donated for front-liners' use during the current pandemic, he added.