4 fined, 116 warned over violation of mandatory mask rule

Rapid Response Team (RRT) operates in the streets of Male' City to conduct COVID-19 tests on June 6, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC) announced on Saturday that four people have been fined for violation of the order issued by the Director General of Public Health masking masks mandatory in public in the greater Male’ region.

The order took effect this Saturday.

In a press conference on Saturday night, HEOC spokesperson and epidemiologist Dr. Nazla Rafeeq said that the police fined four people and issued warnings to 116 people found in violation of the mask order.

Nazla has previously stated that violation of the order will be met with a MVR 1,000 fine.

 The Director General of Public Health has ordered that everyone in the greater Male’ region must wear masks covering their nose, mouth and jaw when outside their homes.

The only exemptions are:

  • Children under the age of two years
  • While exercising
  • Those who are unable to wear or take off masks without assistance

Nazla said on Saturday that the mandatory mask order means that people will not be allowed to lower their masks and smoke in public, as it will be a violation of the order.

A man has his mask lowered to smoke a cigarette outside a residence in Male' City. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

“If everyone is required to wear masks when out in the streets, then that automatically means that people are prohibited from lowering their masks and smoking in the streets,” she said.

The decision to make masks, which had previously been a recommendation, mandatory in public location in the capital was made during a meeting between President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Thursday.

It follows a surge in coronavirus following the relaxation of the lockdown in July.  An increasing number of new coronavirus cases are unlinked to existing clusters, which health authorities warn indicates a wide community spread.

Maldives has 3,949 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 156 new cases recorded this Saturday – marking the biggest single-day spike in coronavirus cases to be recorded in the country. 2,613 patients have since recovered, while 16 have died from complications.