Health Minister Abdulla Ameen has ordered for the state of public health emergency declared in Maldives in response to the coronavirus to be extended to August 7.
Maldives identified its first coronavirus case on March 7, and declared a state of public health emergency over the pandemic five days later on March 12.
Since then, the duration of the state of public health emergency has been extended five times. The latest extension ordered by the Health Minister this Tuesday comes mere hours before the duration, last extended on June 29, had been set to expire.
The Health Minister wrote in a declaration announcing the latest extension to the state of public health emergency that the Director General of Public Health has advised him that the threat of a severe nationwide outbreak remained prevalent, and that Maldives needed to implement special measures to mitigate the threat and ascertain the health and safety of the people.
“I, under the powers vested in me under the aforementioned [Public Health] Act, hereby announce the decision to extend the state of public health emergency which has been declared nationwide from March 12, 2020 to August 7, 2020,” said the Health Minister.
The Public Health Act grants the Health Minister the authority to declare a state of public health emergency either nationwide, or in select areas, if the Director General of Public Health, based on evidence, establishes there to a public health emergency in Maldives, and finds that it warrants special measures to solve or contain it, and counsels the Health Minister as such.
The declaration of a state of public health emergency on March 12 had marked the first time for the provision on the Public Health Act to be invoked, since the Act’s enactment in 2012.
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 recorded 2,801 coronavirus case, including 39 new cases confirmed over the past 24 hours. 2,302 of the patients have recovered, while 14 have died from complications.