President discusses COVID-19 situation with WHO Director-General

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih discussed the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom, this afternoon, over the telephone. The President expressed appreciation for the WHO’s efforts to raise awareness regarding safeguarding communities from the spread of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, and its ongoing assistance in mobilising resources to fight this pandemic. He expressed his gratitude in particular for the WHO country team in the Maldives.

In his overview of the Maldives’ situation, the President emphasized that of the 19 cases thus far documented in the country, there has been no community spread. He outlined the early steps and interventions the Maldives’ Government took to stop the virus’ spread, including declaring a state of public health emergency on 12th March 2020; enacting a series of measures to prevent unnecessary public gatherings; imposing travel restrictions such as banning flights from high risk countries, prohibiting travel between resorts and inhabited islands, restricting on arrival visas, and the requirement for all Maldivians returning from abroad to be quarantined for a two week period.

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The President emphasised that although the Maldives currently does not have community spread, preparations initiated since January include scenarios in which there is a sudden surge in patients. These preparations involve increasing the number of patient beds and intensive care facilities available, and the development of further testing services throughout the country. The President also noted that the precautionary measures put in place across the globe have created challenges in sourcing and procuring essential items, and requested the WHO’s assistance in alleviating these difficulties.

Ending the call, the President thanked the Director General for the WHO’s recent contribution of additional test kits to the Maldives and for taking the time to discuss the ongoing situation.

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