Maldives has reported the first case of its citizen testing positive for COVID-19, the local media reported, and total tally rises to 16.
The Maldives, a South Asian country of nearly half a million of population, has other cases of coronavirus, but all of them are foreigners, while nine have fully recovered.
Addressing a press conference at the National Emergency Operating Centre, the country’s Health Minister Abdulla Ameen on Friday said that the Maldivian, 38, who was in quarantine since arriving from Britain on March 22 has tested positive for the virus, raising the total number of cases to 16.
Bangladeshi migrant workers living in the Maldives are susceptible to coronavirus outbreak as two cases of COVID-19 have been reported among the migrant workers. This population is vulnerable to seeing a much larger number of cases because they live in congested shared quarters and do work that does not make it possible to practice strict social distancing.
The country is currently under a state of a public health emergency, and the government has taken several steps to stop the spread of the virus in the country, including suspending the issuing of visas on arrival.
China’s envoy to the Maldives Ambassador Zhang Lizhon announced on his Twitter handle that Beijing sent its first batch of “emergency medical supplies” to the island nation.
After first appearing in Wuhan, China, last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 176 countries and territories.
President of the Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said Maldives has 13 COVID-19 cases. There has been no death so far. Tourist arrivals declined by 22.8% in the Maldives in March. A 35% drop in tourism is expected this year. Tourism contributes a quarter of Maldives’ GDP, he said. He added that $446 million shortfall due to COVID-19 is expected this year
“Long term recovery plan should be included in the comprehensive regional strategy on COVID-19,” Mr. Solih said
Worldwide, the number of cases has reached more than 660,000. Some 139,000 people have recovered, while more than 30,000 have died.