Malé City, Maldives – HPA has announced that cafés and restaurants in Malé City would need to be closed for dine-in services after 20:00 starting from February 27, 2021.
According to HPA, all food outlets in Malé, Hulhumalé, Villingili, Thilafushi and Gulhifalhu would have to stop dine in service and that they would only be alowed takeway service up until 22:30.
This comes after Health Minister Ahmed Naseem (Kerafa Naseem) has said that Malé City was in a situation where a lockdown might be inevitable. While speaking at a workshop held to formulate a law for tour operators and tour agencies in Maldives, Minister Naseem said that the level of Covid-19 spread in Malé City was unclear.
Minister Naseem also said that the spread of the virus in Malé City was ‘out of control’ and that more than 200 cases are expected from Malé City alone. He further added that if conditions does not allow for a lockdown, stricter measures will be imposed in the capital to control the spread of the virus.
Health Protection Agency (HPA) has also banned vehicle operation on the roads of Malé between 18:00 and 06:00 effective from February 12 onwards.
HPA announced that this vehicle ban is being imposed as a protective measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, HPA revealed certain groups of people that are an exception to this rule. This includes;
- Police and MNDF officers
- Health workers and their vehicles
- Those having HPA pass
- Those having medical emergencies
HPA also added that apart from the above mentioned categories, other exceptions can be made under special permissions from the Agency. HPA stressed the public to adhere to these guidelines to minimize the spread of the virus as much as possible.
Over the past week, there has been a surge in the number of daily confirmed Covid-19 cases in Maldives. Spokesperson of Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC), Dr. Nazla Rafeeg revealed that this shows that Maldives is currently facing the third wave of Covid-19.
Along with the surge in the number of daily confirmed Covid-19 cases, HEOC revealed that the new Covid-19 variant has also been found in the country.
Experts say that the new variant is the cause for the sudden escalation of cases in the Malé city and the same variant has been confirmed in the atolls as well. With this, the HEOC has has imposed several restrictions in the country to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus and the new Covid-19 variant.