Wedding cluster not due to UK arrival: HPA

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) on Monday denied reports that the recent outbreak linked to a wedding held in the capital was due to a recent arrival from the UK.

Over 40 positive cases have been identified from the wedding held at SHE Building in the capital without the proper protective measures in place. HPA has stated that a recent arrival from the UK who tested positive for COVID-19 is a family member of some people within the cluster that emerged from the wedding.

However, the person had arrived in the Maldives after the ceremony in question, and the case is not related to the wedding cluster, HPA said. The authority clarified that those who got infected at the wedding did not get infected through the person.

According to HPA, the person arrived in the Maldives after the wedding, and was not required to quarantine himself as the new guidelines requiring local arrivals from UK to quarantine themselves had not been in effect at the time. He was tested for the virus after he developed symptoms of the disease, said HPA.

HPA updated guidelines such that locals arriving from UK are required to quarantine themselves earlier on Saturday. The measure was taken after a new, more transmissable strain of the COVID-19 virus began circulating in the UK.

According to the new guidelines announced by HPA, locals and work visa holders who were in the UK 14 days prior to their arrival in the Maldives, and locals who made a transit stop at the UK lasting over 12 hours wil be required to undergo a 10-day home quarantine upon arrival in the Maldives. They will also be required to undergo PCR testing for COVID-19 within five to ten days of arrival in the Maldives.

Travellers from UK are now required to present a negative PCR test taken no more than 96 hours prior to traveling to the Maldives.