COVID-19: Obstacles to reaching the 'green zone', practice caution

The Health Emergency Operation Centre (HEOC) on Saturday warned that laxity in following the precautionary measures imposed against COVID-19 is increasing within the community,

203 days have passed since the Maldives registered its first confirmed case of COVID-19. During this period, over 10,000 people have tested positive for the virus, and 34 people succumbed to the illness. The situation in the Maldives was most dangerous in August, with 3900 cases and 12 deaths recorded during the month. However, the numbers have been declining since the beginning of September, with only 31 cases identified over the past 24 hours. However, authorities have warned that the declining number of positive cases does not mean the public should stop practicing caution.

Speaking at HEOC’s press conference held Saturday, the centre’s spokesperson, Dr. Nazla Rafeeq said the number of people adhering to the precautionary measures are decreasing. Undesirable behaviour was noticed over the past weekend, with several people going on picnics, having parties and hanging out on the streets. These types of behaviour are not safe and could lead to an uptick in the number of cases, she warned, urging the public to refrain from such activities. Being lax in taking precautionary measures could lengthen the period of time taken to reach the ‘Green Zone’, she added.

HEOC also noted that the number of people breaking curfew and violating the vehicle ban are also increasing. The mandatory mask wearing if out in public is no longer adequately followed by some members for the public, she said. Some businesses continue to provide services against the policies in place, she added. Such action is an obstacle to reaching the ‘safe zone’, said Dr. Nazla.

Adding that all members of the public must continue to work towards restoring the pre-COVID-19 environment, Dr. Nazla said carelessness could lead to a lengthier duration for which stricter measures must be maintained. While the target must be to decrease the number of daily cases, the declining numbers must not paint a false image of the danger of the situation, she added, reminding that the situation in the Maldives worsened after precautionary measures were relaxed earlier in July.