The Health Protection Agency (HPA), on Tuesday, announced to tighten curfew hours and vehicle movement restrictions across the Greater Male' Region from February 3 onwards, for a period of 14 days.
Imposed due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Maldives, the new curfew prohibits civilians from roads and public spaces between 2300 to 0430 hrs, while vehicle movements are banned between 2030 to 0430 hrs.
The restrictions are implemented across capital Male', its suburbs Vilimale' and Hulhumale', airport island Hulhule', industrial island Gulhifalhu and landfill island Thilafushi.
Previously, HPA imposed the curfew and vehicle restrictions from midnight to 0400 hrs.
The new measures are applicable to all with the exception of the following:
- Officials and vehicles of Maldives Police Service and Maldives National Defence Force
- Healthcare professionals and their vehicles
- Persons holding a pass issued by the Health Emergency Operation Centre (HEOC)
- Persons in need of emergency services during the restricted hours
- Persons attending mosques for the dawn prayer congregation
During these two weeks, HPA will also implement a ban on parks and other public spaces, with the exception of outdoor gyms which may be used for individual exercise in accordance with virus safety guidelines. Similarly, team sports are also temporarily banned.
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 16,056 virus cases of which 1,807 are active cases, in addition to 14,190 recoveries and 52 deaths.