COVID-19: Stricter measures will be introduced, says Health Minister

The COVID-19 situation in the Maldives is grave, and stricter measures will be introduced to counter the situation, the Health Minister has said.

Minister Ahmed Naseem made the statement while speaking at a workshop held at the Parliament on enacting laws on tour operators and agencies. Naseem said the number of positive cases recorded since 6pm Wednesday had already reached 139 by Thusday morning and was likely to exceed 200 by the end of the day. Describing the current situation as ‘out of control’, the minister said the true extent of COVID-19 transmission in capital Male’ is unknown.

“When I wokeup this morning, the daily number was already at 139, and it is likely that the numbers would cross 200 today. Some think this [pandemic situation] is over, that simply getting vaccinated is enough. However, it does not work that way,” said the minister.

Naseem said while some spread false rumors that mask wearing and social distancing is no longer required, some mosque attendees now remove their masks when praying. He did not name specific mosques.

Naseem warned the situation in Male’ is extremely dangerous, and said that the current situation requires a lockdown on the city. The situation worsened due to the public not adhering to the current measures in place, he added. However, the Maldives cannot afford to go into a ‘full lockdown’, said the minister.

“Male’ city has reached that point now. Even in the UK, the initial measures were ignored, and they had to go into lockdown. We are now at that point. We will take more measures, it is necessary,” said the minister.