Maldives imposes 00:00-04:00 ban on vehicular traffic, closes schools

People wear masks as they drive along a road in Male' City on April 19, 2021. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Maldives has made the decision impose additional restrictions in the capital amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, including imposing a partial ban on vehicular traffic, and suspending face-to-face classes in schools.

The restrictions were announced in an order signed by Director General of Public Health Maimoona Aboobakr released by Health Protection Agency (HPA) on Monday night.

According to the order, the new restrictions will be in effect in the greater Male’ region for the 10-day period from May 5 – May 15.

The new restrictions:

  • Closing schools for face-to-face classes and switching to online classes (examinations will continue as planned)
  • Closing government offices and having government employees work from home where possible and switching services to online platforms where possible
  • Closing parks, public spaces, sports arenas, athletics tracks and swimming tracks
  • Banning sports activities and competitions (except with special permission)
  • Wearing masks and practicing social distancing when praying in mosques (prayer-goers highly encouraged to bring their own prayer mats)
  • Ban on vehicular traffic from 00:00 to 04:00 hours

Director General of Public Health has ordered the suspension of travel eases allowed for people who have completed two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, a ban on travel to residential islands and industrial islands expect for essential needs and with special permission. However, travel from greater Male’ region will continue to be permissible but subject to 10 days of mandatory quarantine.

Meanwhile, inbound travelers (Maldivians and work permit holders) from neighboring India – which is experiencing a devastating surge in COVID-19 infections – are required to complete 14 days of quarantine - instead of 10 days as previously instructed - and get tested for COVID-19.

Maldives has been experiencing a surge in COVID-19 infections in recent weeks – both in the capital and in residential islands outside the capital. The decision to impose additional restrictions comes the same day Maldives recorded 585 new cases – the highest single-day spike the country has recorded to date.