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President speaks to the press on COVID-19 situation in Maldives

Summary

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is scheduled for a press conference regarding the virus situation in Maldives at the National Emergency Operations Center, marking his first appearance at a press conference since the emergence of cases of COVID-19 in Maldives. He is expected to announce some important decisions regarding preventing and containing virus cases in Maldives.

19:25 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

President concludes press conference.

19:25 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

President: It is expected that the economy of the country will stabilize within six months. Tourism is the main industry of the country. China is expected to be open for us within the next month. Maldives can be reopened for South East Asia, which will bring stability to the country. 

19:24 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

President: The salaries of everyone is planned to be equalized. This has been postponed. The health professionals have to be paid a good wage.

19:22 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

President: The country is exporting around USD 300 million even now. That money has to be kept within the country. We are faced with challenges. Our youth have to start working with courage. Only then will our economy see a massive change.

18:15 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

President: Steps taken to ensure my safety are taken to ensure the safety of the public as well. I am with the public. In whatever teh situation the public is in, i will also be in that situation.

18:05 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

China as well as Singapore will assist, with the situation with the virus. Chinese aid is already prepared. It is hoped that the aid would be transported via flights, said the President. 

18:03 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

Maldives prepared for worst-case scenario

President Solih stated that the country was fully prepared for a worst-case scenario stemming from the situation with the Covid-19. Work to prepare 200 ICU beds were underway. President Solih noted that medical professionals were advising on how to proceed. 

18:02 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

An epidemiological survey of the country had shown that the curve of the virus in the country did not rise up, said President Solih.

The Maldives has advanced above many countries in the world in dealing with this situation. South Asia was very much prepared for the virus, and the President noted that the world would not have arrived at such a situation had countries in Europ and America also taken such preventive measures.

17:58 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

Discussions underway with China over loans

The president noted that the country had obtained a lot of loans from China. HDC alone has payments worth 100 million due to China wihin this year, according to President Solih.

The President stated that he had personally sent a letter to the Chinese president to find an easement to the loans due. President Solih stated that the hope was that as a neighboring friendly country, China would arrange an easier payment method/

17:54 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

50 resorts in the country have been closed!

A total of 50 resorts in the country have closed, announced President Solih. He added that the remaining resorts in the country aere expected to close within the next two weeks.

President Solih reassured that the future was bright and called on the public against being disheartened at the moment.

17:52 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

Thsi is the time for patience and vigilance said the President as he called for the people to not lose hope. An economic boom was expected by the end of the year. President Solih stated that he was expecting resorts in the country to be full by the end of the year.

17:49 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

Maldives is in lockdown!

President Solih announced that the country was in a state of lockdown. He added that this was not the time to be divided. No one can arrive in the country after the next 24 hours, meaning that this is a state of lockdown. The government was fully prepared provide services and serve the public, said the President.

17:46 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

The Maldives was faced with a foreign currency shortage, said the President before adding that the government's mindset was on obtaining loans for the moment. President Solih noted that the Maldives had a currency swap agreement with the Reserve Bank of India worth USD 450. An amount that is sufficient for a few months, said the President.

The President noted that this was not the time to plan for the long-run. This was the time to take action based on the current circumstances. 

17:41 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

Maldivians abroad would be evacuated if the situation warranted such a measure. Even if the expenses were high, the government would work to relocate Maldivians abroad via charter flights. President Solih stated that the government was working on bringing back Maldivians stuck in the Philipines and Nepal.

17:39 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

The government targeting to ensure that people do not lose their jobs during the situation with the virus with the introduction of stimulus packages for busineses and resorts. President solih called on people to united during this situation and on businesses to be conducted in a manner that would not be harmful to the average citizen. President Solih called on businessmen to atleast to provide the basic salary for employees during this situation. 

17:36 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

President stated that the rent rates in the country were high, but added that the government was not intended on regulating rent in the country for now, President added that this could change in the future. The president was responding to a question about the rent rates in the country and how tenants and landlords would cope with the situation with the virus.

17:34 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

In addition to BML, MMA governor had spoken to the heads of other banks in the country and had received a green light for their support of the government policies in light of the situation said the President.

17:32 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

President opens the floor for questions.

17:32 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

Student loans to be postponed!

Student loans in the Maldives have also been postponed by the government. The announcement was made by the President in a news conference underway.

17:30 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

No shortage of food supplies!

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih announced that the country will not face any shortages of food staples. Every island in the country has enough food supply for a month and work was being undertaken to stock up on food supply for the next ten months.

17:28 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

World Bank donates USD 10 million to Covid-19 fund

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih also announced that the World Bank had donated USD 10 million to the Maldives in its efforts against the pandemic Covid-19 virus.

17:26 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

Easements to be brought to internet use

The president also announced that easements will be brought to internet services in the country which will be announced next week.

17:25 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

Govt. postpones loan repayments

Repayments of loans taken by the HDFC would be postponed, announces the president. President Solih also added that loan applications for the economic package of MVR 2.5 billion would be opened next week

 

17:21 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

President: Measures against virus are effective

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih stated that the measures taken by the government against the Covid-19 virus has been effective. The President added that the steps would damage the economy but the general health of the public was of utmost importance. 

17:19 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

Govt. decides to halt on arrival visa

The govenment of Maldives has decided to halt issuing on-arrival visa starting from March 27, 2020 as a measure against the spread of Covid-19 in the country. The announcement was made by president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in a press conference currently underway.

17:17 Ahmedulla Abdul Hadi

The advice of medical professionals will be heeded

The president stated that the advice of the medical professionals will be heeded by the government and that the government will implement the recommendations of the health professionals before requesting everyone to stay indoors as a safety measure. 

17:15

President Solih announced that the government of the Maldives will be closed for a week starting from next Sunday. During this time, colleges, schools and universities will also be closed.

17:14

President Solih began the press conference by stating that the purpose of the meeting was to provide additional information on the situation with the virus before thanking the 46 agencies and the work of journalists during this situation.

17:11

President Solih's press conference begins.

16:56

This is the first time the president is meeting with reporters after the country confirmed the first cases of the virus. It is expected that the president will announce new measures that will be taken by the country in light of the situation. 

16:46

President Solih's press conference is scheduled to begin at 4:45 pm.