Covid situation escalates in Gadhdhoo, council officials refuse to quarantine

G. Dh. Gadhdhoo. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Shafeeu)

 Residents of GDh. Gadhdhoo – which was placed under monitoring following an outbreak of COVID-19 last Tuesday – complain that the situation in the island is escalating as council officials refuse to cooperate to follow health guidelines themselves or enforce them. 

Local residents are expressing concern that top council officials – who have been identified as direct contacts – are refusing to self-quarantine. The officials in question are direct contacts of a member of the Women’s Development Committee who has tested positive for COVID-19. 

The council officials accused of refusing to self-quarantine includes Gadhdhoo Council’s vice president Khadheeja Ahmed Azal. 

A top local official told Sun that the council has not provided any cooperation to local health authorities, and confirmed that Khadheeja is refusing to self-quarantine as required under Health Protection Agency (HPA)’s guidelines. 

“Khadheeja is saying there is no reason why she should self-quarantine. And that she will only self-quarantine if the police, armed with a court order, tell her to,” said the official. 

The official said that though the Gadhdhoo Health Center began taking measures in accordance with HPA’s guidelines as soon as the island was placed under monitoring, the council is refusing to enforce the measures. 

Though the health center attempted to monitor the harbor area to manage travel in and out of the island, it failed to receive any cooperation from the council, said the official. 

“The harbor is now open. It’s not being monitored. They just closed the school. They refused to close cafes and restaurants. And council leaders refuse to adhere to measures when out I public,” said the official. 

Council officials have been accused of going out in public without wearing mandatory face masks, and telling other residents not to wear masks. 

Multiple local residents who spoke to Sun expressed concern over the situation. 

One local said they don’t know what they should do, and are in a state of panic. 

“We are in a state of panic. We don’t know how we should act. What the leaders of this island are saying and how they are acting is worsening the situation.  We are ready to follow instructions by the health center,” said the local. 

Councilwoman Khadheeja – who is in charge of the council with the President-elect Mohamed Ahmed detained for charges of sexual abuse of minors – was not immediately available for comment.