Virus-hit internal economy could be restarted in May/June

Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail.

The internal economy of the Maldives, stagnated due to the COVID-19 epidemic, could be restarted in May or June, says Minister Fayyaz Ismail. 

The Minister was speaking in a press conference today when he stated that this was possible based on the current spread of the virus and the measures taken to halt its spread.  

Responding to a question by Sun, Minister Fayyaz reiterated the saying that the country cannot remain in lockdown. He, however, stated that this could only be revised upon the advice of medical professionals. The government has previously said that medical professionals at the forefront of the battle against the virus, would have the final say in virus-related matters. 

Minister Fayyaz assured that policies and plans were being formulated on how to operate once the economy reopens. 

“Our hope is that if we can maintain this level of containment (of the virus), at the end of May or in June, we can open Male’ and other locations internally with a few differences. We are targeting to restart tourism in July.” Says Minister Fayyaz.

The month of May has been designated as a critical time period in containing the virus by medical experts, noted the Minister before adding that extra measures must be put in place if the economy was to reopen internally. He also affirmed that the lockdown will remain in place for now. If lifted, the Minister warned that the country could suffer an even bigger loss.

“If we had maintained and strengthened in the first 14 days, maybe we could have ended it after the next 14 days,”

“However, from what we can see now, we have to take restrictive measures for the whole month of May. This is the way I believe that we can reopen the economy. So if, we can implement this correctly in May, the chance to reopen will be available to us.” Say Minister Fayyaz.

Minister Fayyaz noted that 28,000 delivery permits were provided to 11,000 people for the purpose of relaxing the measures on business, even during this time.

“Our hope is to keep the cases at a manageable level. Reopen the economy with a few differences. For instance, new normal, social distance. Cafés and restaurants where people stay within distance changes as such. Keeping distance in shops, wearing masks, changes as these will be visible.” Minister Fayyaz says.

The government has already formulated a task force to ease the country back into a state of normal, whether it be a new normal or not. No indication of the government’s mindset regarding the return of the country has yet been made public.