First two cases of COVID-19 reported in Male, Maldives, March 7. Risk to public remains low. Use basic health precautions.

Severity: Informational Alert

This alert began 07 Mar 2020 20:31 GMT and is scheduled to expire 14 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
  • Location(s): Male (map)
  • Period: March 2020
  • Cases: 2

Summary
Government officials confirmed the first two cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Male, Maldives, March 7. The patients are two local resort employees who had contact with an infected tourist from Italy; the Italian national tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to Italy. Authorities have quarantined the two infected locals at a quarantine facility outside of Male.

Authorities have put two island resorts on lockdown, as they conduct further tests to try to limit the spread of the disease.

Background and Analysis
Additional cases may be identified in the coming days and weeks as elevated disease surveillance continues. Older individuals, infants, and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Human-to-human transmission can occur, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people.

COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions.

Advice
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO advice for international travel

WHO coronavirus knowledge base

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