Lockdown is an emergency measure or condition in which people are temporarily prevented from entering or leaving a restricted area or building during a threat of danger.
Many countries in the world are going for a lockdown as precautionary measure to curb the spreading of COVID-19 outbreak. Our neighbors, India and Srilanka under a lockdown. Countries such as Germany, Spain, Italy, New Zealand are the most recent ones added to the list of countries under lockdown, and more countries are following them.
As authorities suggest that the lockdown is the best strategy to fight against COVID-19, the call for a nationwide lockdown is getting louder in Maldives. Pressure for government to go for a lockdown is increasing day by day. But the question is are we in a situation to go for a lockdown? How long can we afford it?
Government offices and educational institutes are officially closed down. Most of private offices are closed, rest are operating for limited hours. Restaurants in greater Male’ city area are closed temporary. General public are advised to stay at home and practice social distancing as the social distancing is the best way to control the spreading of the virus. Authorities are advising public to maintain social distancing. Therefore, companies are advising their employees to work from home and online schooling is the method of education practiced in Maldives now.
Tourism industry, major economic activity in the country is badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As announced by government all the guesthouses in Maldives are closed. Most of the airlines fly to Maldives halt their flight operations to Maldives. Over 40% of the resorts are closed due to restrictions of tourist arrival to the Maldives. Rest of the resorts are in verge of closing their operations. Resort employees are lockdown in the resorts and they are not allowed to go back their homes until further notice. At this point, aren’t we in a lockdown already?
Maldives government haven’t officially announced that the country is in lockdown. However, government authorities have started to conduct drills of a lockdown. Some people believe this could be a sign of a lockdown. Though, looking at the COVID- 19 situation in Maldives, no Maldivian citizen has tested positive for the virus yet. However, 13 positive cases found in Maldives were foreigners. More than 550 people are in quarantine and the majority of them are Maldivians. While looking at the situation of COVID-19 pandemic in the world, over 416,000 confirmed cases found from 196 countries and it has killed more than 18,500 people across the globe. The virus is rapidly spreading around the globe and a we are yet to find a cure to the virus.
What if Maldives goes to lockdown?
If Maldives goes for a lockdown, it cannot go on for too long. Lockdown may help to control spreading of disease in Maldives and may control number of deaths in Maldives. But the consequences of economic meltdown could be even more deadly than the disease. The country is heavily depending on tourism and imports from other countries, nationwide lockdown will affect badly. Economist and those who are working in finance sector believes that world is heading towards an economic recession. In the recession, it will be very difficult for a small country like Maldives to survive without the help from other countries.
In conclusion, currently Maldives government haven’t officially announced that the country will go for a lockdown. However, the situation might change any time. What if any Maldivian national gets positive for COVID-19 in Maldives, will the government announce a lockdown? Let the authorities make the decision, let us trust the government and let them decide on what’s best for the country.