Failure to wear mask in public will be met with MVR 1,000 fine effective Saturday

Two men wear masks to protect from the spread of the new coronavirus in Male' City on May 12, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC) has announced that starting Saturday, failure to wear mask in public locations in the greater Male’ region will be met with a MVR 1,000 fine.

The decision to make masks mandatory was made during a meeting between President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and the national taskforce earlier this Thursday.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday night, HEOC spokesperson and epidemiologist Dr. Nazla Rafeeq said that the police will begin checking for compliance with the mask order starting Friday, and that failure to wear masks while out in public will be met with a MVR 1,000 fine starting Saturday.

Nazla said that the mask order is for the greater Male’ region; Male’ City and suburban Hulhumale’ and Vilimale’.

The decision to make masks, which had previously been a recommendation, mandatory in public location in the capital follow a surge in coronavirus following the relaxation of the lockdown earlier this July.  An increasing number of new coronavirus cases are unlinked to existing clusters, which health authorities warn indicates a wide community spread.

Maldives recorded 152 new cases this Thursday, marking the biggest single-day surge of coronavirus cases to be recorded since the community spread began in the country.

142 of the new cases were identified from the greater Male’ region, while the remaining 10 were identified from the atolls; the nine people from H. A. Kelaa linked with the Savaari Boat case and one individual in home quarantine in B. Kamadhoo.

Maldives now has 3,719 confirmed coronavirus cases. 2,568 patients have since recovered, while 16 have died from complications. The latest fatality was recorded earlier this Thursday.