40 more businesses closed for COVID-19 safety guideline violations

Police officers outside a shop in Male' City on July 1, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Health Protection Agency (HPA) announced on Saturday that it has ordered the temporary closure of 40 more 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 last Wednesday, a follow-up to a mass inspection conducted earlier in July.

The agency inspected 189 establishments on Saturday, following which it closed down 40 business establishments. They include 16 cafes and restaurants, 14 shops, nine salons and barber shops, and one market, for violation of the safety guidelines.

With the 189 establishments inspected this Saturday, HPA has now inspected total 375 business establishments and closed down 120 business establishment found in violation of safety guidelines. They include 55 cafes and restaurants, 49 shops, 15 salons and barber shops, and one market.

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.

Mask while out in public in the greater Male’ region – the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Maldives – is now mandatory. Four people were fined and 116 people were fined for violation of the mandatory mask order on Saturday alone.

Maldives recorded 156 new cases this Saturday, marking the biggest single-day surge of coronavirus cases to be recorded since the community spread began in the country.

154 of the new cases were identified from the greater Male’ region, while the remaining 2 were identified from the atolls.

Maldives now has 3,949 confirmed coronavirus cases. 2,613 patients have since recovered, while 16 have died from complications.