Maldives is yet to confirm a coronavirus case.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) announced this via Twitter on Tuesday, following various rumours being spread on social media.
Urging the public to refrain from engaging in spreading rumours, the agency asked to follow its guidelines to “effectively combat COVID-19”.
While Maldives is yet to confirm a case, a number of individuals that traveled from China have been quarantined and tested for the virus. All of them are to have tested negative.
These tests were previously not available in the Maldives, and samples were sent to India. However, the tests are now available at Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital, who assures that they are being carried out as per the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.
Authorities are also working to establish a travel clinic in the capital “so that any individual who has traveled abroad into the Maldives from abroad can be promptly screened if there is even the slightest suspicion that that individual has the virus”, while a special emergency drill was held on Tuesday to prepare for the event that an individual within a household tests positive for the disease.
These are being done under President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s directions, who has instructed HPA and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to coordinate nationwide efforts. As per these instructions, a national emergency center has been established as per the president’s instructions, which is “overseeing the activities of relevant agencies legally mandated to monitor Maldives’ health situation”.
The president made the decision to strengthen combat efforts “due to the rapid spread of the disease worldwide.”
While the new novel coronavirus emerged in China’s Wuhan last December, more than 93,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide and the number of deaths from the virus has reach over 3,000 globally.
All nine Maldivians in Wuhan have since been evacuated with India's assistance, with the last two evacuated in late February and are quarantined in New Delhi. The first seven Maldivians that were evacuated returned to Maldives after 14 days in quarantine as well.