Dr. Nazla: Shahid granted special permission to perform unavoidable official duty

Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid speaks during the ceremony to present a USD 250 million loan from India on September 20, 2020. (Photo/Foreign Ministry)

Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC) spokesperson Dr. Nazla Rafeeq said on Monday that Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid was granted special permission to leave mandatory home quarantine after overseas travel to attend an event at State Bank of India (SBI) Male’ because he needed to perform an unavoidable official duty on behalf of the state.

The remark comes after the opposition PPM-PNC coalition accused health authorities of employing double standards when it comes to implementing the health and safety measures rolled out amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a press statement earlier this Monday, the opposition coalition questioned why Shahid was allowed to attend a state event on Sunday, noting that he returned from travel to Dubai on Saturday.

Those who return from overseas are required to undergo 14-day home quarantine.

“Citizens are expressing concern that Minister Shahid attended and co-mingled with a large number of people during the ceremony to mark the large loan taken after selling a treasury bond to State Bank of India, the next day,” said the opposition coalition in their statement.

When asked by Sun for a comment regarding the issue during the HEOC press conference on Monday evening, Dr. Nazla that not only state officials, but members of the general public too, are allowed to leave quarantine in accordance with specific protocols under special circumstances.

“As such, it was a special permission issued [to Shahid] to perform an unavoidable duty on behalf of the state. That was with precautionary measures. Members of the general public too, have been issued permission in a similar manner,” she said.

Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry’s Media Director Miuwan Mohamed, too, told Sun that Shahid attended Sunday’s event after obtaining special permission from Health Protection Agency (HPA).

“Minister is scheduled to attend some important events this week, as well as the coming week, in accordance with HPA’s guidelines,” he said.