12 Elections Commission staffers positive for COVID-19

Electoral officials count ballots in the Local Council Elections 2020 on April 10, 2021. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Elections Commission confirmed on Tuesday that multiple employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

Elections Commission chairman Ahmed Shareef told Sun that all employees from three sections have tested positive.

They total around 12 employees, he said.

“None of the staffers who tested positive are in serious condition. Contact tracing is in progress,” said Shareef.

Shareef said that all Elections Commission employees, except for employees from three sections, will be working from home, starting Wednesday.

The COVID-19 cases within Elections Commission comes two weeks after they announced final results of the Local Council Elections in April. Elections Commission employees engaged in work on the LCE had contact with multiple people.

Maldives has been experiencing a surge in COVID-19 infections in recent weeks – both in the capital and in residential islands outside the capital. The country recorded 601 new cases this Tuesday – the highest single-day spike the country has recorded to date. 

Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC) warned this Tuesday that the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) designated for COVID-19 patients at the Dharumavantha Hospital in Male' is currently operating at maximum capacity.

The alarming surge in cases has prompted Health Protection Agency (HPA) to impose additional restrictions in the capital, including a 00:00-04:00 ban on vehicular traffic, and suspension of face-to-face classes in schools.

Government offices have been closed, public parks and sports arenas have been closed, and the travel eases allowed for fully vaccinated individuals have been suspended.

Meanwhile, Maldives’ promising vaccination campaign has suffered a setback due to the depletion of its stock of Covishield vaccine, prompting authorities to suspend the administration of the vaccine. HPA announced this Tuesday they expect to receive a new shipment of Covishield in two weeks.

Though Maldives has suspended the administration of Covishield vaccine, it continues to administer Sinopharm vaccine and Pfizer vaccine.

According to statistics released by HPA, 297,639 people have received their first dose since the vaccination campaign was launched in February – making for 67 percent of the eligible population, and  108,494 people have received their second dose – making for 24.5 percent of the eligible population.