Maldives imposes 21:00-04:00 curfew in capital

The ring road of Male’ City lies near vacant during curfew hours on February 18, 2021. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Maldives has made the decision to impose a curfew in the capital, as COVID-19 continues to surge to record highs.

The decision was announced by Health Protection Agency (HPA) in the early hours of this Thursday.

According to HPA, the curfew will be in effect from 21:00 hours to 04:00 hours in the greater Male’ region (Male’ City, Hulhumale’ and Vilimale’), starting this Thursday.

Police will continue to issue permits for delivery services and other essential needs, said HPA.

HPA last imposed a curfew in the capital on February 2, between 23:00-04:30 hours. The curfew was lifted after two months on April 1.

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 a curfew comes after Maldives recorded 734 new cases on Wednesday – the highest single-day spike the country has recorded to date. With the surge in infections, Maldives now has 7,109 active cases. 198 of the patients are hospitalized.

The curfew comes a day after more new restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 came into effect; a 00:00-04:00 ban on vehicular traffic, and suspension of face-to-face classes in schools.

Government offices have been closed, public parks and sports arenas have been closed, and the travel eases allowed for fully vaccinated individuals have been suspended.

Meanwhile, Maldives’ promising vaccination campaign has suffered a setback due to the depletion of its stock of Covishield vaccine, prompting authorities to suspend the administration of the vaccine. HPA has announced they expect to receive a new shipment of Covishield in two weeks.

Though Maldives has suspended the administration of Covishield vaccine, it continues to administer Sinopharm vaccine and Pfizer vaccine.