Thai hotel chain donates PCR machine to Maldives

Health professionals operate outside a labor quarter under active surveillance in Male' City on May 22, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

The Thai hotel chain Minor Hotels has donated a PCR machine to Maldives to assist the country in its efforts to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

Minor Hotels runs five properties in the Maldives, including three resorts under the Anantara brand - Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort, Anantara Veli Maldives Resort, and Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas- and Naladhu Private Island Maldives and Niyama Private Island Maldives.

Maldivian Economic Ministry announced in a tweet on Saturday morning that Minor Hotels had donated a PCR machine along with 100 gallons of hand sanitizer.

The ministry thanked the hotel chain on behalf of the Maldivian government for its donation, describing it as “critical medical equipment required in the Maldives’ effort to combat the current COVID-19 pandemic.”

PCR machines are laboratory systems used to conduct testing for COVID-19.

While COVID-19 cases in Maldives have risen to 1,274, only the main government hospital Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) and Maldives Police Service’s Forensic Services Department have machines capable of conducting COVID-19 testing. ADK Hospital has also brought in a PCR machine and is scheduled to begin testing on Sunday.

The Maldivian government has announced it plans on establishing testing facilities outside of the capital. The government is yet to announce where the PCR machine donated by Minor Hotels will be set up.

While 1,274 people have tested positive for the new coronavirus in Maldives, 109 have recovered and four have died from complications.

Maldives identified its first virus case, in Kuredu resort, on March 7, and has been in a state of public health emergency since March 12.

While virus cases had initially been restricted to resorts and safaris, and later inbound travelers in quarantine facilities, the populous Maldivian capital Male’ City identified its first virus case on April 15 – prompting a lockdown on the Greater Male’ Region.

Male’ quickly became the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Maldives, contributing to over 1,200 of the total virus cases.