Maldives imposes night curfew after steep jump in COVID-19 infections

Ahmed SHURAU / AFP

Maldives will begin a night-time curfew from Thursday to control a doubling of daily coronavirus infections that was fuelled by crowds at a local election and family gatherings during Ramadan.

The Health Protection Agency announced the curfew on Wednesday after government data showed daily cases grew to 734 from 318 a week ago. Most of the cases reported on Wednesday were in the crowded capital Male.

Restrictions have been placed on movement between islands, although there are no curbs on tourists headed to private island resorts if they can produce a negative COVID-19 test. The health agency also ordered mandatory physical distancing in mosques.

"The numbers are very high. If we are not able to significantly lower these numbers, we are going to face very difficult days. So we have to get ready," said Mabrook Azeez, the spokesman for the President's Office.

There were large gatherings during the council elections held on April 10, and mass groupings have only increased during Ramadan, with communal prayers being held without any physical distancing in Male.

Australian cricketers and staff involved in the Indian Premier League are headed to the Maldives after the tournament's abrupt suspension over the coronavirus crisis in India. They will quarantine there before heading home.

Vaccination queues in the Maldives have also lengthened during Ramadan due to shortened hours, with thousands lining up without any physical distancing to get their shots.

Azeez said the government is looking for foreign medical workers and local volunteers to staff the main public hospital in Male.

More from International

Coming Up on Dubai Eye

  • Extra Time

    7:00pm - 8:00pm

    Chris & Robbie bring you the latest from the sporting world plus interviews with upcoming and legendary sporting stars.

  • The Night Shift with Mark Lloyd

    8:00pm - 10:00pm

    Musicians and music, entertainers and entertainment, industry gossip and songs selected by you, get ready to bring your night time to life! Every evening from nine, Mark Lloyd brings you an energetic mix of local and international content and contests, featuring an array of celebrity interviews and entertaining anecdotes. Get involved in the show and pick your favourite jukebox hits, every night from 8pm - 11pm.

On Dubai Eye

  • Helen's Postpartum Struggles

    Every weekday afternoon, Helen Farmer will help you to navigate the highs and lows of life in the UAE.

  • FARMER'S KITCHEN

    Farmer's Kitchen is back for 2021!
    With our partners Spinneys, we are going to help you wave goodbye to boring dinners, cluttered fridges, and lumpy leftovers!