Govt. urges people to wear masks in all residential islands

A man wears a mask as he drives along a road in Sh. Narudhoo. (File Photo/Sun/Fayaz Moosa)

Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC) announced on Tuesday that it is now mandatory for masks to be worn when out in public in all residential islands with confirmed coronavirus cases, and that it is highly recommended that people in all residential islands, including those where cases have not been identified, to wear masks when out in public.

The decision to expand the mask order – which had previously been focused on the greater Male’ region – follows a surge in coronavirus cases in Maldives with the relaxation of the lockdown in the capital in July.

HEOC announced additional measures to control the spread of the new coronavirus in a press conference on Tuesday evening.

Health Ministry’s Deputy Director-General, Policy Planning and International Health, Aishath Samiya said that it is now mandatory for residents of all islands with confirmed coronavirus cases to wear masks when in public.

She also recommended that residents of all islands in general wear masks when in public.

“We recommend that masks be worn in all residential islands. Since [medical] masks will be difficult to obtain, we recommend you use cloth masks,” said Samiya.

She also announced that it is now mandatory to wear masks during long journeys between islands, either via sea or air.

Samiya noted that many people had travelled to other residential islands under quarantine with the relaxation of the lockdown in Male’, and that there exists a chance that the may have spread between islands unknowingly.

“Therefore, as a precautionary measure, we urge that masks be worn in all islands,” she said.

There are 10 islands outside of the capital with active cases. They are:

  • H. A. Kelaa
  • H. A. Ihavandhoo
  • R. Inguraidhoo
  • R. Ungoofaaru
  • B. Eydhafushi
  • B. Hithaadhoo
  • Lh. Kurendhoo
  • Lh. Hinnavaru
  • K. Maafushi
  • V. Fulidhoo

HEOC has also announced the decision to restrict travel of persons from Male’, declaring that only people with compelling reasons will be allowed to travel from the capital to other residential islands.

Maldives now has 4,293 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 129 new cases recorded on Monday. 2,670 patients have since recovered, while 19 have died from complications.