Right to good health takes precedence: HEOC

Spokesperson of Health Emergency Operations Centre, (HEOC), Dr. Nazla Rafeeq has indirectly criticized the opposition’s motorcycle rally held last Friday.

Speaking at the news conference held by the centre on Saturday night, Dr. Nazla said some members of the public are deliberately flouting the regulations in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, and are organizing political activities while disregarding mandatory mask regulations and social distancing measures.

Nazla said now is not the time to hold gatherings and rallies, and said the most important right that must be assured at this time is the right to good health. All citizens are entitled to this right, said the doctor.

“A public health emergency has been declared, this is not the time for people to gather anywhere, even with masks on. We have been telling the public that only five people can gather at a time, but some people insist it is their ‘right’ [to go out and gather in groups] and openly defy HPA guidelines. At a time when a public health emergency has been declared, the most important right to protect is the right to good health,” said Dr. Nazla.

The opposing Progressive Coalition on Friday gathered in large numbers to hold a rally. Although masks were used, social distancing measures were disregarded. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has also criticized the opposition’s actions at such a critical time. The president said that HPA’s guidelines carry legal weight, and assured that the government would not allow anyone to act against the guidelines.

The Maldives has recorded 7,578 positive cases of COVID-19 and 28 deaths to date. The number of positive cases have been increasing significantly over the past few weeks.