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Maldives former president Gayoom tests positive for COVID-19

Maldives former president Gayoom tests positive for COVID-19

Gayoom ruled the Maldives for 30 straight years until he was defeated at the country's first multi-party elections in 2008. (AFP/Ahmed SHURAU)

MALE: The former president of the Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, said he had tested positive for COVID-19, as the tourist-dependent island nation reports an increase in cases since reopening its borders last month.

"I have tested positive for COVID-19. May Almighty Allah bless me and all other sick people with a speedy recovery and good health," Gayoom said in a tweet on Tuesday (Aug 25) night.

The 81-year-old former president was one of Asia's longest serving leaders, having ruled the Maldives for 30 years.

According to a family source, the former autocrat was tested for COVID-19 following a medical consultation on Tuesday morning, after he developed a fever on Monday night.

The source said Gayoom is doing well and is expected to be admitted to the newly built Dharumavantha Hospital in the capital, Malé.

Heavily reliant on foreign tourism, the Indian Ocean archipelago lifted a lockdown in the capital in June and opened up its borders for tourists in July.

Since the end of the lockdown in June, the number of COVID-19 cases in the Maldives has tripled, while deaths have risen from five to 28.

The Maldives Health Protection Agency has confirmed a total of 7,047 COVID-19 cases in the country, out of which 2,580 cases are currently active.

Just over 5,000 tourists visited the Maldives in the month to Aug 15, according to Maldives Immigration, a fraction of last year's monthly average of more than 100,000.

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Source: Reuters/kv


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