MALE, April 21 (Xinhua) — The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Maldives rose to 84 on Tuesday as the country’s defence minister compared the battle against the pandemic to war, local media reported.
Seventeen people, including a member of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and an 80-year old with pre-existing health conditions, tested positive for COVID-19 by the Health Protection Agency (HPA).
National Emergency Operation Center (NEOC) Spokesperson Mabrooq Azeez said relevant authorities were working to locate the source of an MNDF officer’s infection, adding that the government had procured as much Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline workers as possible.
Moosa Hussain at the country’s main Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) told local media that the 80-year old patient infected with COVID-19 had been bed-ridden for two years following a stroke, and suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Hussain also warned that due to prevailing rainy conditions, the country could expect an increase in cases of influenza and the common cold, posing additional challenges for health officials since these illnesses have similar symptoms to COVID-19.
Maldives marked it’s 128th Armed Forces day on Tuesday, with Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi praising the MNDF and comparing the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic to a war.
“In the words of soldiers, our main and most exhausting work is focused on the war against the virus that is COVID-19,” Defence Minister Didi said in an interview to state media.
Maldives has 84 confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which over 60 cases have been reported in the capital of Male.
The first infection in Male was confirmed last Wednesday and authorities have since imposed a 14-day lockdown on the city and banned travel between islands except for transport of essential goods.
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