Govt to dissolve NEOC as Maldives enters new phase on July 1: President Solih

Govt to dissolve NEOC as Maldives enters new phase on July 1: President Solih

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih declared late Monday that the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) will be dissolved on July 1 as country enters "a new phase in the fight against COVID-19".

According to the President's Office, the main responsibilities entrusted to NEOC in the country's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be shifted to the Ministry of Health under this new phase.

On a visit to the NEOC on Monday evening, President Solih stated that the new phase is part of the government’s strategy to steer Maldives towards a 'new normal'.

He called for everyone's support, stating that their cooperation and hard work are crucial in this new stage, to overcome the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic and move forward.

The president highlighted that the NEOC is the largest multi-sectoral government operations centre ever established in Maldives to date.

He hailed NEOC’s efforts in implementing the government’s emergency COVID-19 responses under the guidance of relevant health authorities, stating that the centre's work was why the country was able to avert a healthcare disaster and keep the majority of the population safe.

During his visit, the president spoke with the staff based in NEOC, and conveyed his gratitude, on behalf of himself and all the citizens of Maldives, for their tireless work in the response to the pandemic.

President Solih's announcement of a new phase in the country's response to the COVID-19 pandemic come amidst the government's phased easing of lockdown restrictions across the Greater Male' Region. The nationwide travel ban previously imposed across the country has also been lifted while the authorities gear up to reopen Maldives' borders in July, to restart tourism and kickstart the economy, and establish the 'new normal' on living through the pandemic.

Maldives presently has a total of 2,337 confirmed cases, out of which 397 are active cases of COVID-19. Thus far, the country records 1,927 recoveries and eight fatalities.

As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, Maldives' capital Malé recorded a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in the first weeks following the first confirmed local transmission on April 15.

However, the number of recoveries have continued to rise, with roughly 82 percent of patients now recovered.

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 10.3 million people and claimed over 505,900 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 5.6 million people have recovered.