Police begin enforcing mask rule: Children under 2 years, people exercising exempt

Workers wear masks and gloves as they transport shipments of food to shops in Male' City. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Maldives Police Service announced on Saturday that it has begun enforcing an order issued by the Director General of Public making masks in public locations in the greater Male’ region mandatory.

Health Emergency Operations Center has previously stated that violation of the order will be met with a MVR 1,000 fine.

The Director General of Public Health has ordered that everyone in the greater Male’ region must wear masks covering their nose, mouth and jaw when outside their homes.

Three groups of people are exempt from the order. They are:

  1. Children under the age of two years
  2. People out for exercise, during exercise
  3. People who are unable to wear or take off masks without assistance

Maldives Police Service has stated it has begun enforcing the mandatory mask order.

Maldives identified its first coronavirus case on March 7, and invoked Article 34 of Public Health Protection Act to declare a state of public health emergency over the pandemic less than a week later on March 12, granting the Director General of Public Health the authority to implement special measures to prevent and control the spread of the new coronavirus.

The Director General of Public Health issued the order make masks mandatory in the greater Male’ region under Article 12 (a) (iii) of the Public Health Protection Act, with reference to Article 34 of the Act.

The decision to make masks, which had previously been a recommendation, mandatory in public location in the capital was made during a meeting between President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Thursday.

It follows a surge in coronavirus following the relaxation of the lockdown earlier this July.  An increasing number of new coronavirus cases are unlinked to existing clusters, which health authorities warn indicates a wide community spread.

Maldives has 3,793 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 74 new cases recorded on Friday. 2,607 patients have since recovered, while 16 have died from complications.