MALE, March 3 (Xinhua) -- The Maldivian government has tightened restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, despite progress in vaccination.
The Ministry of Islamic Affairs earlier this week announced that all prayer congregations at mosques in the Greater Male Region must be conducted with social distancing.
The ministry also urged worshippers to wear masks and carry their own prayer mats. Mosques have been advised to remove their carpets, clean floors before congregations, and keep doors and windows open for air circulation.
Congregational prayers were suspended in the capital Male in March 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but resumed again in July 2020.
Meanwhile, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) announced last week that establishments found violating health and safety protocols will be shut down for 24 hours.
HPA Director Ahmed Nasir was quoted in state media as saying that new policies will punish health violators by closure rather than a fine. Service providers and customers not wearing a mask will be fined, he said.
The HPA carried out the fifth round of public health inspections in the Greater Male area in February in association with the Maldives Police Service, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Male' City Council, and the Housing Development Corporation.
Maldives has 20,144 confirmed cases of COVID-19, out of which 17,470 have fully recovered and 62 have died, according to HPA data updated on Tuesday evening.
Meanwhile, data from the HPA showed that 123,665 people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 between Feb. 1 and March 2. Enditem