Maldives will not hold Independence Day festivities this year

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has decided the Independence Day celebrations will not be held this year.

The events that would not be held include the official assembly, sport festivities and other activities typically held on the occasion of Independence Day. After consulting with the ministers of his cabinet, the president made the decision in adherence to the new normal guidelines implemented to mitigate the risk of the further spread of COVID-19.

The President's Office stated not holding the celebrations will also help reduce state expenditure, as part of the ongoing recovery efforts from the economic repercussions of the pandemic. Despite the decision, the president will address the nation to deliver remarks on the occasion of Independence Day.

During cabinet discussions, President Solih also discussed the arrangements in place to hand out the National Award of Honour and National Award of Recognition, and sought the advice of his cabinet. The awards are handed out during the official ceremony held to celebrate National Day. Further, Special Achievement Awards are given to recipients during the official ceremony held to celebrate Republic Day.

After discussing with the cabinet, President Solih decided to open nominations for the 2020 National Awards. The president emphasised that proceeding with National Day and Republic Day celebrations as planned will be contingent on the situation with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The President's Office said the awarding ceremonies may be rescheduled to a later date if necessary.