Discussions on tightening measures against COVID-19 ongoing: Govt

Discussions are ongoing to tighten restrictive measures as the number of COVID-19 cases are increasing in the atolls.

The Health Ministry on Saturday said the Health Emergency Operations Centre during its meeting held earlier the same day discussed possible steps that may be taken in the current situation. However, no other details were given.

The Maldives relaxed strict measures on May 28 after the number of positive cases began declining. However, since July 1, the number of positive cases have been on the rise, with the numbers rapidly increasing over the past few days. 156 cases have been recorded over the past 24 hours.

With the surge in infections, authorities have made the use of masks when out in public mandatory, and have introduced a hefty fine for those who fail to abide by the regulation. Action will be taken against those who go out for non essential purposes between 11pm to 5 pm.

Speaking at a press briefing held on Friday, Health Minister Abdlla Ameen said that COVID-19 continues to remain a threat and that the measures that were lifted earlier may need to be reimposed. However, the government aims to bring the spread of the illness under control without bringing changes to the current protocol, said the minister. This is only possible if the public follows the instructions given by health authorities, he added.

The minister further noted that the increase in the number of cases is a serious concern, and reiterated that the danger remains a real threat. He further warned that going into a second lockdown would be detrimental to the economy and the public, and will bring on a fresh set of challenges. Therefore, it is his hope that a second lockdown does not have to be introduced, said the minister.