HEOC: Returnee from UK positive for COVID-19, but returned after wedding reception

Passengers wear protective gear to protect from COVID-19 as they disembark a plane at Velana International Airport. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC) said on Monday that a Maldivian national who returned to from the United Kingdom has tested positive for COVID-19, but that though the person in question is from one of the families linked with the outbreak at a wedding reception held at the SHE building in Male’ City on December 20, the person had arrived in Maldives after the wedding reception took place.

The wedding reception was attended by 120 guests, at least 35 of whom have tested positive for COVID-19.

HEOC has previously stated that some of the guests were symptomatic when they attended the reception.

This Monday’s statement comes amid rumors that a recent returnee from the UK attended the reception, and had been symptomatic.

“However, the person came from the UK after the party,” said HEOC.

HEOC said that due to the relaxation of travel guidelines at the time, the person in question was not required to self-quarantine upon return to Maldives, but was tested after developing symptoms soon after.

Health Protection Agency (HPA) had relaxed travel guidelines to allow locals who return from overseas to avoid home quarantine upon arrival if they present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 96 hours on December 16.

The agency later strengthened travel guidelines to make home quarantine compulsory for locals and work visa holders who travel from the UK due to fears over the more contagious COVID-19 variant spreading across the UK on Sunday.

HEOC said on Monday that there is no way to know whether the case is linked with the new COVID-19 variant.