The Edition

Latest

COVID-19: HEOC mass inspection to focus on food service providers

Mariyam Malsa
03 February 2021, MVT 19:29
A server takes a customer's temperature before admitting him into a cafe'. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI / MIHAARU
Mariyam Malsa
03 February 2021, MVT 19:29

The Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC), on Wednesday, revealed that recently announced plans to conduct a mass inspection would include a special operation targeting food service providers.

Speaking at an HEOC press conference, Health Protection Agency (HPA) Director Ahmed Naseer stated that the decision to conduct the mass inspection to confirm whether service providers are adhering to COVID-19 safety guidelines, was finalised in response to the recent surge of virus cases.

According to Naseer, the mass inspection would be divided into four segments with cafés, restaurants, shops, markets, salons and fitness centres being subject to the inspection, as well as vehicles providing public transport services.

In addition to HEOC, the mass inspection will be conducted in cooperation with the Health Protection Agency, the Housing Development Corporation (HDC), the Male' City Council, Women's Development Committees (WDC) and the Maldives Police Service.

For further information regarding the mass inspection, individuals can call 7264574 from 0900 to 1800 on all weekdays excluding Friday. Any complaints regarding the procedure can be sent to inspection.heoc@health.gov.mv.

During the press conference, Superintendent of Police Hussain Sameer detailed the exceptions granted amid the recently announced two-week curfew in the Greater Male' Region, which prohibits civilians from roads and public spaces between 2300 to 0430 hrs, as well as the ban on vehicle movements between 2030 to 0430 hrs.

Superintendent Sameer revealed that public transport in the Greater Male' Region, including bus and ferry transfers, will remain operational until 2230 hrs.

Additionally, all taxi centres will be given a permit to operate 10 taxi's during vehicle ban hours, in order to assist individuals leaving their homes to fulfill urgent needs.

One petrol shed in Male' and reclaimed suburb Hulhumale' will remain open during the restricted hours to provide refueling services for vehicles with permits.

Any public or private sector employees, including security guards and airport staff, are required to wear their uniforms and carry their employer issued identification cards if they are outside during curfew hours.

Superintendent Sameer urged employers to arrange transport for staff required to work late hours, if possible.

Utility service providers such as water and gas will be permitted to operate two vehicles between 2030 and 2300, while Waste Management Corporation (WAMCO) employee

Individuals with flights scheduled during curfew hours will also be allowed to continue uninterrupted if they present their tickets and passports.

Other stringent measures introduced by HPA on Tuesday, coming into effect on February 3, to curb the spread of COVID-19 include a two-week shutdown of colleges and preschools, and daycare centres.

Furthermore, in a new first, HPA mandated individuals permitted to travel from Male' to other islands for essential and urgent purposes, to obtain a negative PCR test 72-hours prior to departure.

The new measures were announced after virus cases in the country exceeded the 200 mark on Monday, for the first time since August 2, 2020.

Maldives recently recorded a spike in COVID-19 cases, which has been increasing throughout January, with several clusters found in capital Male’ as well as some southern islands and operational resorts.

According to the Health Protection Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC), 30 percent of the recently identified cases are believed to be the highly contagious new variant that emerged in the United Kingdom late last year.

Currently, the island nation records a total of 16,155 virus cases of which 1,833 are active cases, in addition to 14,263 recoveries and 52 deaths.

On March 12, 2020, WHO classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. To date, the new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 1 billion people and claimed over 2.2 million lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 76.3 million people have recovered.

MORE ON NEWS