Chief Shamaal says MNDF will not falter, as number of officers falling sick increases

Chief of Defense Force Major General Abdulla Shamaal. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Chief of Defense Force Major General Abdulla Shamaal, on Thursday, provided assurance the Maldives National Defense Force would remain steadfast in the fight to combat the spread of COVID-19, even as the number of military officers infected with the virus continues to increase, and as Maldives mourns its first virus-relate death.

20 military officers have tested positive for COVID-19, and more have been isolated for possible exposure to the virus.

Meanwhile, an 83-year-old woman who was waiting for test results in self-isolation following direct contact with a positive case passed away in Male' on Wednesday. Her test results came back positive for COVID-19 after her death, marking the first virus-related death in the Maldives.

Trained female military officers purified her body in accordance with Islamic rites, while male military officers carried the coffin and conducted the burial.

Chief Shamaal, in the early hours of this Thursday, took to Twitter to commend the female military officers who performed the last rites for their bravery.

“I salute the brave, female MNDF jamaitherin who performed the last rites,” he said.

He also provided assurance the military would not falter in its efforts to curb the spread of the virus, despite the news of the tragic death or the increasing number of officers who are falling victim to the virus.

“Despite the tragic news & though the number of MNDF frontline workers testing positive keeps increasing, the Maldivian people can rest assured that we will not falter & that we will fight COVID-19 head on,” said Shamaal.

Military officers have been provided training on performing funeral rites for people who die from COVID-19 by Health Protection Agency and Islamic Ministry.

At a National Emergency Operations Center press briefing on Monday, when the number of officers who tested positive for COVID-19 had stood at five, Colonel Hussain Ali said that the MNDF leadership had been aware of the potential for officers to fall sick, and consequently, for more to be isolated or quarantined. He said the MNDF already had SOPs in place to ascertain the safety and security of the military force.

Some 600 military officers, police officers and other frontline workers have been provided accommodation away from their families.

The number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in Maldives stands at 280.