Maldives has confirmed 74 new cases of Omicron, increasing confirmed cases of the new COVID-19 variant in the country to 125.
Maldives confirmed its first Omicron case in December last year; a South African tourist who arrived in the island country on November 21.
The country confirmed local transmission of the cases earlier January.
At a press conference on Sunday afternoon, HPA’s epidemiologist Dr. Ibrahim Afzal said Maldives has tested 1,194 samples for Omicron, 74 of which have come back positive for the variant.
Afzal said that 51 out of 100 samples sent overseas for testing on January 11 tested positive for Omicron.
“This shows the rapid pace at which Omicron is spreading, and that it is overtaking other strains,” he said.
Afzal said that Omicron cases have been detected in 11 islands and cities. The locations where cases have been detected outside the greater Male’ region are:
Maldives is facing a surge in COVID-19 faces fueled by the Omicron variant, with daily cases above 2,000.
‘LIVE WITH THE VIRUS’
Afzal said that health authorities are focused on learning to live with the virus rather than imposing stricter restrictions.
He said that authorities are conducting weekly reviews on COVID-19 trends, based on which they are revising restrictions.
The people now want to learn to live with the virus, he said.
“In any case, if this stretched to three or four year, we cannot be in a constant state of emergency. Whatever the case, we need to revive our economy. We need to earn income. We need to go out to work. And we need to teach students,” he said.
When asked whether Male’ getting locked down was a possibility, Afzal said such measures weren’t off the table, but that it wasn’t part of the latest measures which have been finalized.
He said that measures were being taken in accordance with advice of international experts.
Afzal said the best way to overcoming the current surge is to get the booster shot. He also urged the people to do their civic duty and wear masks, maintain social distancing, and avoid crowds.