101 people tested following coronavirus case in Male’ Prison

Male' Prison. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Maldives Correctional Service has announced samples for coronavirus tests have been taken from 101 people in Male’ Prison.

The tests come after an Emergency Support Group (ESG) officer stationed at the Male’ Prison tested positive for the new coronavirus on Saturday.

Health Protection Agency (HPA) collected samples from officers and detainees at the Male’ Prison to identify others who may have been exposed to the virus through the ESG officer on Sunday.

According to a statement released by Maldives Correctional Service, samples were taken from 70 officers and staff members, 24 detainees, and seven waiters.

HPA had conducted random coronavirus tests on officers and detainees in prisons in the country, including the Hulhumale’ Prison, Maafushi Prison, and Asseyri Prison in May. The results on all samples came back negative.

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 2,203 confirmed coronavirus cases, out of which 1,803 patients have recovered and eight have died from complications.

34 percent of the 2,203 coronavirus cases in the country are Maldivians, while the remaining 66 percent are foreign nationals. 1,152 people – making for 52 percent of total coronavirus cases – are Bangladeshis. The rest of the coronavirus cases include 767 Maldivians, 207 Indians, 42 Nepalese, and 12 Sri Lankans and 11 Italians.

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.

The country now has 390 active coronavirus cases.