HPA closes 22 establishments over violating COVID-19 safety guidelines

HPA closes 22 establishments over violating COVID-19 safety guidelines

The Health Protection Agency (HPA), on Sunday, temporarily shut down 22 establishments for violating COVID-19 safety guidelines.

As part of its ongoing follow-up mass public health inspection, HPA inspected 135 establishments on the fourth day of its operation to ensure the proper implementation of coronavirus safety guidelines and precautionary measures in cafés, restaurants, shops, gyms, fitness centres, salons and markets.

The establishments that were temporarily closed down include seven cafés and restaurants, nine shops, four salons and barber shops, one spa and one market.

Establishments issued a ‘notice of closure’, may request re-inspection after having taken the recommended corrective action.

HPA conducted the first mass inspection of service providers in early July to ascertain whether service establishments held the required government permits, implemented proper social distancing measures and observed other safety protocols.

The results of the first inspection were less than optimal, with HPA disclosing that the majority of businesses and other establishments were operating in violation of the restrictive measures.

HPA's second operation comes amidst a resurgence of increasing COVID-19 cases in Maldives. After recording low numbers for several weeks in May and early June, the number of cases began to increase again after the state initiated efforts to steer the country towards a 'new normal' with the phased easing of lockdown restrictions across the Greater Male' Region on July 1.

A record number of 215 positive cases were confirmed this Sunday.

Maldives now records total 4,164 confirmed and 1,489 active COVID-19 cases, along with 2,643 recoveries and 18 deaths.

On March 12, WHO classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. To date, the new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 18.2 million people and claimed over 692,800 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 11.4 million people have recovered.