President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has discussed the ongoing situation regarding the spread of the global pandemic, COVID-19, over the telephone with the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.

In a statement President's Office said the President commended the Secretary-General for his leadership during this ongoing global crisis, and provided an outline of the measures the Maldives has implemented at the national level to contain the virus.

It said President Solih also discussed areas in which the United Nations could be of assistance to the Maldives and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS), detailing the challenges faced during the immediate health response phase.

The statement said that the President briefed the Secretary General on early interventions the Maldives’ Government undertook in response to the reporting of the first positive case on March 7th.

The country declared a State of Public Health Emergency last month, and through strict border control, screening and quarantine measures, successfully prevented community spread for over a month.

In his call President Solih appraised the Secretary General that this situation has changed with the identification of 5 positive cases in the Greater Male’ Area, with Male’ city currently under lockdown.

He emphasised that the Government’s priority remains curbing the spread.

Welcoming the UN’s recent establishment of the ‘Response and Recovery Fund’ to aid low and middle-income economies that have been heavily impacted by the virus’ spread, the President requested the UN’s assistance towards the Maldives. He also highlighted that SIDS such as the Maldives are predominantly dependent on international tourism and trade, and are therefore disproportionately impacted by the measures that have to be imposed to effectively contain COVID-19. In light of this, he welcomed the Secretary-General’s initiatives to restructure debt repayment windows, and to forgive debts, for countries with vulnerable economies.

Before ending the call, the President Solih thanked the Secretary-General for taking the time to discuss the ongoing pandemic, and reiterated his gratitude and support for the work the United Nations is doing under the Secretary-General’s leadership in the fight against COVID-19.