Health Ministry extends state of Public Health Emergency

Health Minister Ahmed Naseem at the ceremony to handover 112,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine donated by Japan on August 22, 2021. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

The Ministry of Health on Tuesday announced a further extension of the State of Public Health Emergency declared in Maldives due to COVID-19 until January 29, 2022.

The declaration signed by Minister of Health Ahmed Naseem stated that the extension was a precautionary measure taken in accordance with the advice of Health Protection Agency (HPA)'s Director-General of Public Health Maimoona Aboobakuru, as the risk of a large scale community spread still exists.

Maldives declared its first-ever state of public health emergency on March 12, under Section 33 of the 7/2012 Public Health Act, over the COVID-19 pandemic for a period of 30 days. This was only five days after the first case was identified in the country. Since then, the Ministry has been issuing monthly extensions.

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.

At present, hundreds of COVID-19 positive cases are recorded daily. Unlike the beginning of the pandemic, the numbers have dropped in the greater Male’ region, instead, more cases have been emerging throughout other regions of the country.

In the last 24 hours 168 new cases were recorded, increasing confirmed cases in Maldives to 95,032.