COVID-19 in Hoadedhdhoo - What is the origin?

The Maldives has recorded over 9,000 positive cases of COVID-19 to date. After capital Male’, the second biggest COVID-19 hotspot in the Maldives is GDh. Hoadedhdhoo, an island with a population of 1,300. How the infection reached the island remains a mystery, although many speculate that the virus spread in the island after a group who traveled to Hoadedhdhoo from the capital violated home quarantine rules. Some say goods that were unloaded at the island were not properly disinfected, leading to infections within the island. There are many different theories with which the public is trying to make sense of the spread.

The most recent positive cases identified in the island were individuals completing home quarantine. They adamantly deny breaking home quarantine guidelines. One person in quarantine after traveling from Male’ said the rumors have no basis. However, all cases identified in the island are somehow linked to the individuals who tested positive from the most recent home quarantine tests, and their direct contacts.

Deputy Director General of Health Ministry, Thasleema Usman said no independent cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Hoadedhdhoo. Therefore, it is believed that the infection spread to the island when some individuals in quarantine somehow came in contact with island residents.

‘No independent cases have been identified in Hoadedhdhoo thus far. All positive cases are family members of the latest individuals to test positive in home quarantine, and their contacts. Therefore, it is most likely that some people came in contact with those in home quarantine against the regulations. However, we have not decided that this is the cause of the spread. But we are seeing only those who had been in contact testing positive from all around,” she said.

While random sampling has also been collected from Hoadedhdhoo, Thasleema said it is unlikely that the virus spread in the island due to contaminated cargo. The goods sent to the island will not enter just one household, or one family, she said.

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the spread in Hoadedhdhoo and the island still remains on monitoring status. While the virus has now affected 6 percent of the households in the island, contacts from 19 percent of households are linked to the cases. The Hoadedhdhoo case could provide valuable insight on how to prevent the spread of the virus in islands.