111 business establishments inspected, 15 closed

People wear masks as they wait in queue outside a shop in Male' City on June 16, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Health Protection Agency (HPA) has temporarily closed 15 business establishments in the capital for violation of the safety guidelines issued by the agency in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

HPA initiated a mass inspection of cafés and restaurants, shops, gyms and fitness centers, salons and markets in the greater Male’ region in late July, a follow-up to a mass inspection conducted earlier that month.

HPA inspected 111 establishments on Friday, following which it closed down 15 business establishments for violation of safety guidelines. They include six cafes and restaurants, six shops, and three salons and barber shops.

The follow-up mass inspection comes amid a surge in coronavirus cases with 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.

Following the surge in cases, authorities implemented have additional restrictions, including imposing a temporary ban on travel of persons from Male’ to other residential islands, except those who travel to the capital to access essential services such as healthcare.

Wearing masks when out in public in the greater Male’ region and residential islands with confirmed coronavirus cases is now mandatory, and the wearing of masks in all residential islands, including those with no confirmed cases has been declared highly recommended.

Maldives has 4,769 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 89 new cases recorded on Friday. 2,754 of the patients have since recovered, while 19 have died from complications.

The country now has 1,996 active cases. 129 coronavirus patients are hospitalized.