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COVID-19: Movement without permits allowed until 2300 hrs

Fathmath Shaahunaz
01 July 2020, MVT 12:30
Wearing masks, people venture amid eased lockdown restrictions on capital Male' City as the Maldives enters the new normal. PHOTO: AHMED AWSHAN ILYAS / MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
01 July 2020, MVT 12:30

Authorities declared that movement without permits across the Greater Male' Region are allowed during the day until 2300 hrs from July 1 onwards.

Communications Undersecretary at the President's Office Mabrouq Abdul Azeez made the announcement at the regularly held virtual press conference by the National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) on Tuesday night.

Following a two-month lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic, the phased easing of restrictions on June 15 previously allowed movement without the special permits issued by NEOC between 0500 to 2200 hrs.

However, as the country entered the 'new normal' on July 1, Mabrouq stated that unauthorised movement will be allowed for people of all ages. The number of people allowed for gatherings has also been increased from three to 30.

Despite the loosened restrictions, Mabrouq cautioned everyone to keep observing the safety guidelines stated by the Health Protection Agency for the new normal, such as physical distancing, wearing masks, using sanitisers and practising good hygiene.

In addition to gatherings, authorities also granted permission for sports, including team sports, to resume across the capital region, with the exception of activities held by children's sports academies.

Mabrouq noted that the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment will soon publicise guidelines for sports under the new normal.

Moreover, he declared that gyms and fitness centres are also authorised to resume services. However, the centres are allowed to accommodate only a certain number of people at a time, which must be publicly on display.

The new normal in Maldives also sees the resumption of business operations, including shops, cafe's and restaurants, as well as mosques reopening for prayer congregations. While schools across the country opened their doors for students again on Wednesday, the President's Office declared that government offices will reopen as per normal from this coming Sunday.

The Greater Male' Region was placed on lockdown on April 15, following the detection of the first local transmission of COVID-19 in capital Male'. Authorities commenced a phased easing of lockdown restrictions on May 28, with the second phase beginning on June 15.

Although the nationwide travel ban has been lifted and the capital area is entering the 'new normal' with the easing of restrictions, the government has extended the State of Public Health Emergency, first declared on March 12, until July 14 as there is still the risk of COVID-19 community spread.

Maldives presently has a total of 2,361 confirmed cases, out of which 403 are active cases of COVID-19. Thus far, the country records 1,944 recoveries and nine deaths.

As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, Maldives' capital Malé recorded a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in the first weeks following the first confirmed local transmission on April 15.

However, the number of recoveries have continued to rise, with over 82 percent of patients now recovered.

On March 12, WHO classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. To date, the new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 10.5 million people and claimed over 514,000 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 5.8 million people have recovered.

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