President discusses outcomes of easing lockdown, future plans

Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih chairs over a meeting with relevant stakeholders for discussions on the the national response to the coronavirus outbreak on July 9, 2020. (Photo/President's Office)

Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Thursday, met with relevant stakeholders to discuss the outcomes of the relaxation of the restrictive measures enacted to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, and the additional decisions which will be taken in the days to come.

The meeting took place at the President’s Office on Thursday afternoon.

The discussions focused on the specifics of the ‘new normal,’ boosting public awareness and health sector preparedness, and addressing any further challenges to the national health response.

The meeting was held as part of a series of ongoing stakeholder sessions to facilitate the government’s overall monitoring of the country’s health situation, following the dissolution of the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) this July – marking the beginning of a new phase in the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions which will see Maldives steered closer towards a ‘new normal’.

The meeting was attended by Vice President Faisal Naseem, several Cabinet Ministers, senior officials at the President’s Office, health professionals and senior officials of the Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC), the Maldives Police Service and the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF).

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 2,517 confirmed coronavirus cases, which includes 2,180 recoveries and 13 fatalities.

The number of active coronavirus cases stands at 319.

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.