The Ministry of Finance, on Wednesday, revealed that MVR 33.2 million was distributed as allowances to workers serving on the frontline of Maldives’ COVID-19 response.
Speaking at a press conference, Chief Financial Budget Executive of the Finance Ministry Ahmed Saruvash stated that payments were disbursed for services rendered between March 7 and July 15. He added that MVR 300,000 of pending allowances would be handed out to 41 frontline workers within the week.
According to Saruvash, frontline workers are divided into three categories based on specific risk levels.
The first category is those subjected to the highest risk, such as individuals who come into direct contact with COVID-19 patients, including doctors, nurses, sample collectors, laboratory technicians, those who operate the vehicles in which positive and suspected individuals are transferred and those who enter COVID-19 treatment facilities. Those in the first category will receive an allowance of MVR 500 for every working day.
Medium risk frontliners fall into the second category, including those who have to work with high-risk individuals although they do not come into contact with COVID-19 patients. Those in this category will receive a daily allowance of MVR 250 for every working day.
Frontliners that do not fit into either of the aforementioned categories but work in the now-defunct National Emergency Operation Centre for more than six hours each day are to receive an allowance of MVR 200.
Despite the disbursement of allowances to several frontliners, payments for staff from Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) and the Maldives Police Service are still pending.
The Chief Financial Budget Executive attributed the delay to ongoing efforts to amend the policy under which frontline allowances will be granted to employees of MNDF and the police. He projected that the amendment would be endorsed by the President’s Office in the upcoming week.
As per finance ministry statistics, a total of 3,017 MNDF staff and 3,246 police officers have served on the frontline of Maldives’ COVID-19 response. According to the previous policy, approximately MVR 80 million will be paid out as allowances for these individuals.
The Maldives currently records total 8,140 confirmed and 2,767 active COVID-19 cases, along with 5,338 recoveries and 29 deaths.
After recording significantly low numbers in the months of May and June, COVID-19 cases in the Maldives skyrocketed again after the state commenced the phased easing of lockdown restrictions across the Greater Male’ Region. As per authorities, the spike indicates a high level of community spread in the country.
As the capital city of Male’, one of the most densely populated cities in the world, continues to record a significant number of virus cases per day, the government has redoubled protective measures, implementing a curfew from 2200 to 0500 hrs, banning vehicle movement from 2000 to 0500 hrs and mandating facemasks.
On March 12, WHO classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. To date, the new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 26.1 million people and claimed over 867,300 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 18.4 million people have recovered.
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