COVID-19 cases rise to 1,313 with 39 new infections

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

Health Protection Agency (HPA), on Saturday, announced 39 new cases of COVID-19, increasing confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in Maldives to 1,313.

According to HPA, the new cases are 16 Maldivians, 15 Bangladeshis, seven Indians and one Sri Lankan.

The 39 new cases on Saturday are lower than the 59 new cases confirmed by the agency on Friday.

At a National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) press briefing on Friday, HPA epidemiologist Dr. Ibrahim Afzal said new cases were being maintained within the range of 30-50.

Health experts had previously warned they projected a significant surge in coronavirus cases by the end of May. According to the projections, virus cases in the country may exceed 6,000, overwhelming the health system.

Health authorities later said that the measures put in place to control the spread of the virus had been effective in pushing down new cases, and urged the public to continue to comply with the measures.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, in an address to the Maldivian people on Wednesday, said that the government planned on easing restrictive measures once the current period of the lockdown on the capital expires, if the lockdown measures proved to be effective in pushing down virus numbers.

He also warned that easing of restrictive measures did not mean the end of the pandemic or the danger it posed.

The current lockdown period expires on May 28.

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 identified its first virus case on April 15 – prompting a lockdown on the Greater Male’ Region.

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

While virus cases in Maldives have now risen to 1,313, 109 have recovered and four have died from complications.