Maldives extends Medical State of Emergency for a 12th time

Malé City streets after Covid-19 protective measures were eased. | Photo: Mihaaru.

Malé, Maldives – The Medical State of Emergency announced in the Maldives has been extended by the government of the country for a 12th time.

Maldives identified its first coronavirus case on March 7, and declared a state of public health emergency due to the pandemic less than a week later on March 12. Since then, the duration of the state of public health emergency has been extended multiple times of which the latest extension order is set to expire on 4th April

Health Minister Ahmed Naseem, in the declaration announcing the latest extension to the state of public health emergency this Saturday, stated that the Director General of Public Health has advised him that the threat of a severe nationwide outbreak remains prevalent, and that Maldives needs to implement special measures to mitigate the threat and ascertain the health and safety of the people.

I, with the powers vested in me under the aforementioned [Public Health] Act, hereby announce the decision to extend the state of public health emergency which has been declared nationwide from March 12, 2020 to February 3, 2021 

Health Minister Naseem in his declaration

The Public Health Act grants the Health Minister the authority to declare a state of public health emergency either nationwide, or in select areas, if the Director General of Public Health, based on evidence, establishes there to a public health emergency in Maldives, and finds that it warrants special measures to solve or contain it, and counsels the Health Minister as such.

The declaration of a state of public health emergency on March 12 had marked the first time for the provision on the Public Health Act to be invoked, since the Act’s enactment in 2012. While coronavirus cases had initially been restricted to resorts and safaris, and later quarantine facilities holding inbound travelers, Male’ City identified its first coronavirus case on April 15.

The populous capital quickly emerged as the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Maldives, contributing to the majority of total cases. Maldives has 20,447 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 167 new cases recorded on Thursday. 17,712 of the patients have recovered, while 64 have died from complications. The country currently has 2,664 active cases.