Maldives prepares for nation-wide lockdown as cases spike

The Maldives is preparing for a full lockdown after several cases of local transmission of COVID-19 were identified in the capital city

Apr 17, 2020
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Male: The Maldives is preparing for a full lockdown after several cases of local transmission of COVID-19 were identified in the capital city.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has announced that inter-island travel will be suspended from Friday as a safety measure against COVID-19.

The initial case detected in Male city of a local had direct contact with over 200 individuals, some of whom have already travelled to the atolls. Four new cases of locals have since been detected, bringing the total number of cases in the capital to five, and total infections in the Maldives to 25.

Around 22 households across the Maldives have been placed on lockdown for contact tracing. These include homes in Male, reclaimed suburbs Hulhumale, Ha. Vashafaru, K. Kaashidhoo, southernmost Addu city and Th. Madifushi.

An announcement issued by HPA said the government was banning all non-essential travel between islands across the archipelago. It further said cargo supply arrangements will be made in liaison with island councils.

The announcement also banned public gatherings on all islands, and urged the public not to leave their homes except for essential needs.

The 24-hour lockdown imposed on Male city following the detection of the first case in the capital has now been extended for another 24 hours. It is likely that the lockdown will be further extended.

While several people left to the atolls from Male and local resorts over the past few days, HPA's announcement also requested islands to inform of any suspected cases at the earliest.

The HPA has also announced banning all public gatherings and other social events.

In the Maldives, it is a traditional custom to hold special 'Maahefun' gatherings to celebrate the arrival of the holy month of Ramadan, and people take dips in the water ahead of the month of fasting. However, the HPA said in the current situation in the Maldives, such customs should not be followed.

An announcement issued by HPA said all public gatherings and recreational activities, including swimming, will be banned across the Maldives effective from Friday.