COVID-19: 16 new infections, 22 recoveries

Rapid Response Teams (RRT) operate in the streets of Male' City to conduct COVID-19 tests. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Health Protection Agency (HPA), on Wednesday, announced 16 additional cases of the new coronavirus, increasing confirmed coronavirus cases in Maldives to 2,517.

According to HPA, the 16 new cases are; 11 Maldivians and five Bangladeshis.

Meanwhile, 22 additional coronavirus patients were confirmed to have made full recoveries over the last 24-hours, increasing total recoveries to 2,180 people.

The new developments means Maldives now has 319 active cases.

There are 267 people in isolation facilities, and 107 people in quarantine facilities.

58,583 samples, including repeated samples, have been taken by health authorities to conduct coronavirus testing.

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.

35 percent of the 2,517 coronavirus cases in the country are Maldivians, while the remaining 65 percent are foreign nationals. 1,293 people – making for 51 percent of total coronavirus cases – are Bangladeshis. The rest of the coronavirus cases include 910 Maldivians, 227 Indians, 44 Nepalese, and 19 Sri Lankans and 11 Italians.

13 coronavirus patients have died from complications.

The latest death was recorded earlier this Wednesday; a 70-year-old Maldivian woman taken to Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH), who was declared deceased upon arrival.

Maldives began relaxing its lockdown following a drop in daily infections in the end of May.

The beginning of July has seen further relaxation of coronavirus restrictions; mosques in the greater Male’ region have been reopened for congregational prayers for the first time in over three months, cafes and restaurants have been allowed to reopen for dine-in services, and government offices and courthouses have officially reopened.

While those who leave the greater Male’ region are still subject to mandatory quarantine, people from other residential islands are now allowed to enter the capital without special authorization.

Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC) has warned that unlinked coronavirus cases have begun to increase with the further relaxation of the lockdown, and has urged the public to maintain social distancing and other preventive measures.

Meanwhile, HPA has announced plans to initiate mass public health inspection in the greater Male’ region on July 12, in which the agency will inspect the practice of coronavirus guidelines by different service providers.