On Thursday, May 28, authorities announced an extension of the state of emergency in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic until June 29. The statement came as the lockdown imposed on the Greater Male' region ended on Thursday, and authorities announced the easing of restrictions over a four-week period. As part of the new measures, some restrictions on movement between islands will be lifted, three members of the same household will be permitted outside for two hours a week, provided they obtain an authorization from the police, and certain businesses will be issued permits to operate. Public transport restrictions in the Greater Male' region have also been eased, with buses and ferries resuming operations with strict social distancing measures in place. Face masks must be worn at all times whilst using public transport. Public gatherings remain banned, and restaurants, cafes, beaches, public spaces, recreation centers, schools, and mosques will remain closed until at least June 9.
As of Friday, May 29, there have been 1513 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Maldives, with five associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantine measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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