MALE, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) — Maldives President Ibrahim Solih has urged citizens to maintain strict anti-COVID-19 precautionary measures, warning that a second lockdown would be challenging, local media reported here Tuesday.
Solih said that in the wake of a COVID-19 resurgence which has seen cases cross the 4,000 marks in the country, citizens must wear face masks and cooperate fully with health protection authorities in order to avoid another economically damaging lockdown.
The president said that government offices would remain closed until at least Aug. 6, though public sector workers have been encouraged to perform their duties from home through online means.
While a lockdown applied on the Greater Male region has been significantly eased, with construction, tourism, retail and other sectors re-opening, certain restrictions are ongoing.
The government has made it mandatory for citizens to wear masks covering the nose, mouth and chin while outdoors, subject to a fine of 65 U.S. dollars, and a curfew is imposed between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. local time.
The Maldives’ economy is highly dependent on tourism which contributes around a quarter of the country’s GDP and employs thousands of workers.
Tourism was greatly disrupted when the Maldives’ borders were closed between March 27 and July 15, though the country still hopes to attract 850,000 tourists by the end of the year.
The country’s Health Protection Agency has confirmed 4,293 cases of COVID-19 so far, of which 2,670 have fully recovered and 18 have died.
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