Maldives prepares for nation-wide lockdown as number of cases spike

Maldives prepares for nation-wide lockdown as number of cases spike

The Maldives is preparing for a full lockdown after several cases of local transmission of COVID-19 were identified in capital Male'.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) on Thursday said inter-island travel will be suspended effective from 1800hrs on Friday as a safety measure against COVID-19. The initial case detected in Male' city had direct contact with over 200 individuals, some of whom have already travelled to the atolls. Four new cases have since been detected, bringing the total number of cases in the capital to 5, and total infections in Maldives to 25. 22 households across Maldives have been placed on lockdown for contact tracing. These include homes in Male', reclaimed suburbs Hulhumale', Ha. Vashafaru, K. Kaashidhoo, southernmost Addu city and Th. Madifushi.

An announcement issued by HPA said the government was banning all non-essential travel between islands across the archipelago. It further said cargo supply arrangements will be made in liaison with island councils.

The announcement also banned public gatherings on all islands, and urged the public not to leave their homes except for essential needs.

The 24-hour lockdown imposed on Male' city following the detection of the first case in the capital has now been extended for another 24 hours. It is likely that the lockdown will be further extended.

While several people left to the atolls from Male' and local resorts over the past few days, HPA's announcement also requested islands to inform of any suspected cases at the earliest.