Criminal Court closed for decontamination after staffer tests positive for coronavirus

A police officer enters the Criminal Court. (File Photo/Sun)

Criminal Court has announced it has suspended trials, and closed the court for decontamination after a member of the court’s staff tested positive for the new coronavirus on Saturday.

Sun has been informed the employee in question is one of the court’s legal officers.

Health Protection Agency (HPA) has ordered all other staff members who had direct contact with the legal officer to home quarantine.

Criminal Court has issued a statement announcing the court will be closed on Sunday and Monday for decontamination.

The court said that while the court will not provide any in-house services, it will ensure that the court continues to hold remand hearings and process orders requested by law enforcement agencies during the period through virtual platforms.

While the Criminal Court had switched to virtual hearings with the emergence of the community spread in Male’ City in April, it had switched back to in-house hearings on June 15 with the relaxation of the lockdown.

The Criminal Court said it its statement that it had organized the work schedule to ensure the court’s staff are at minimal risk of exposure in the event of a positive coronavirus case within the court.

The coronavirus case in Criminal Court had come the same day as an Emergency Support Group (ESG) officer stationed at the Male’ Prison tested positive for the new coronavirus, and three days after a member of the maintenance staff at the Parliament tested positive.

Maldives identified its first coronavirus case on March 7, and declared a state of public health emergency over the pandemic four days later on March 11.

While coronavirus cases had initially been restricted to resorts and safaris, and later quarantine facilities holding inbound travelers, Male’ City identified its first coronavirus case on April 15, prompting a city-wide lockdown and a nationwide ban on nonessential travel.

The populous capital quickly emerged as the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Maldives, contributing to over 90 percent of total cases.

Maldives has 2,187 confirmed coronavirus cases, out of which 1,788 patients have recovered and eight have died from complications.

Maldives began relaxing the lockdown following a drop in daily infections in the end of May; lifting all restrictive measures in other residential islands, and allowing greater freedom of movement and the reopening of offices in the capital.