Maldives has announced new restrictions as it battles its worst surge in COVID-19 cases, including expanding curfew hours in the capital to 16:00-08:00 hours, and making permits compulsory to go out even during non-curfew hours.
In a press conference by Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC) on Monday evening, President’s spokesperson Mabrook Azeez said the new restrictions take effect on Wednesday, May 26.
Mabrook said that people will require permits issued by the police to go out even during non-curfew hours.
Each household will be issued two residential permits. One can be used to go out between 08:00-12:00 hours, while the other can be used to go out between 12:00-16:00 hours.
“Each household will be issued two residential permits to go out… The permit will be issued at day time – during non-curfew hours – in two sessions. Some of the permits will be issued from 08:00-12:00 hours. And other permits will be issued from 12:00-16:00 hours,” he said.
Mabrook said the permits are solely to access essential services, and cannot be used for travel between Male’ City and suburban Hulhumale’, unless under exceptional circumstances.
Meanwhile, cafes and restaurants are banned from providing dine-in and takeaway services, and can only open for delivery services.
Businesses will be allowed to provide delivery services from 06:00-00:00 hours.
Mabrook said that shopping during curfew hours and obtaining takeaway services during curfew hours will be punishable with an MVR 5,000 fine.
Maldives has been experiencing a surge in both infection rate and fatalities in recent weeks.
This May has seen the highest number of COVID-19 fatalities in Maldives, with 62 deaths.
Maldives has 55,924 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 1,559 new cases recorded on Sunday. 32,322 patients have since recovered, while 135 have died from complications.
The country currently has 23,464 active cases. 290 of the patients are hospitalized.