The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) has warned that a second lockdown may need to be imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Since the end of July, the Maldives has been recording an average of 140 daily cases. While the numbers have not fallen over the past few weeks, authorities have reimposed several measures in a bid to decrease the number of cases. The mandatory use of masks when out in public, a vehicle movement ban from 8pm to 5am, in addition to a curfew from 10pm to 5am are already in place in capital Male’.
Senior member of TAG, Dr. Ali Latheef during a press conference held Sunday said more measures may need to be taken if the numbers keep increasing. Giving an example of stricter measures, he said that shops and restaurants, as well as schools and workplaces may need to be closed once again. Although imposing a lockdown would be the last resort, if the number of cases keep increasing at its current rate, there is a possibility that a lockdown will need to be reimposed, he warned.
Dr. Ali Latheef said huge difficulties accompany going into lockdown, and that the country’s people have experienced the challenges of a lockdown. However, authorities would have no choice but to go into lockdown if the numbers do not fall, he warned.
“I am not saying we need to immediately go into lockdown. However, if we are unable to control the number of infections, we may very well have to go down that route. We will need to take the measure in order to control the spread and save lives,” he said.
He called on the public to pay attention to the instructions given by the Health Protection Agency, and said the health sector would fail to manage the situation if the public does not comply with the instructions. Warning that the capacity of hospitals may reach its limit, a shortage of doctors and nurses would mean several lives may be lost, he added. The actions being taken to control the infection is for the good of the people, and not meant to burden them, he said.