When Maldives emerged from its strict lockdown, a woman asked me to prepare some rice to be served by her family. Less than a month later, she is back to work and raising her family. Vigorous tourists come from all over the world flock to the Maldives even though little holds them back.
“This is really the worst time of the year for Maldives,” said River Lord Ramel Agais, 42, an engineer in the southern city of Savar who works on the island’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
He heads a group of fellow doctors called Doctors Without Borders (Maldives Children’s Hospital) who administer healthcare services for the country of 4.5 million people.
As of Wednesday, just 1,360 people have been confirmed dead from the coronavirus and more than 1,100 have recovered, mostly in the small northern Ascension island where none of the public fatalities have been reported. This compares with around 6,000 cases across the region. Here are some facts about diseases in the Maldives:
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Annual mortality rates: 0-1 people per 100,000 population.
Deaths from tuberculosis (1.6 per 100,000): 2014-2019.
Deceased brain damage due to asphyxiation (6 per 100,000): 2015-2019.
Maldives Cancer Registry statistics: 15,993 cases and 242 deaths (interactive graphic, tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7):The CAR Diamond charity has registered 338 cases and 1,174 death certificates in four years of tracking similar patterns.
There are currently four active clusters of coronavirus in the Indian Ocean, two in Tibet and one in Argentina. In addition, a joint investigation has described six cases in Hong Kong, seven cases in Bhutan and two in the Philippines.
Two French nationals in the Maldives have contracted the disease after traveling to China.
A 45-year-old British man has been diagnosed with the coronavirus disease after returning to his country from South Korea.
On Sunday, the first day the country allowed people out of its six-month hard lockdown to go out for walks and recreational activities, the Migration Ministry said it would take people a month to rebuild their sense of identity and adjust to the new normal.
In a bid to stem the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 (the disease-causing respiratory disease), self-isolation is orders of the day. But Mat Jamila, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said this week there are some positives in the work and any sense of community.
“There have been positive changes in Maldives and the Maldives which I would hope would happen to all of us,” he told Reuters TV on Thursday.
“This is a good country which is concerned about staying ahead of the curve in this new normal,” he said.