May impose mandatory mask wearing policies, says minister

Maldives Health Minister has stated that the government is considering making the use of masks when in public mandatory.

The Indian ocean archipelago took strict measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including a curfew and later, a full lockdown. However, the lockdown measures were relieved in stages from May 8 after the number of positive cases showed a steady decline.

Authorities now believe a second wave of infections are on the rise as the number of positive cases have increased dramatically over the past week.

Speaking on the rapid increase in the number of positive cases, Health Minister Abdulla Ameen said the number of people who disregard the instructions given by authorities are increasing. The use of masks when out in public is not practiced by a large number of people, said the minister.

While the current situation calls for masks to be used vigorously, the government is now considering making the use of masks mandatory, said the minister.

“I do not believe there is any reason why we should not enforce the use of masks as a rule. Therefore, we are considering this move. We can make its use mandatory, but it is not much different from the current instructions and policies we are following in response to the pandemic,” said the minister.

Ameen also expressed concern over protests and marches being held in the capital amid a pandemic. Urging the public to refrain from attending such gatherings, these events exponentially increase the risk of spreading the disease, he noted.