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With Highest Covid Rate, Maldives to Lengthen 12-Hour Curfew

(Bloomberg) — Maldives, which has the world’s fastest-growing Covid-19 epidemic, plans to impose a 16-hour curfew in its capital in a bid to slow down the outbreak.

The Indian Ocean archipelago, which depends on luxury tourism for much of its income, has the highest number of infections per million people over the last 7 and 14 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The curfew, from 4 p.m. until 8 a.m., will take force from May 26, extending the current arrangement by four hours a day, the government’s Health Protection Agency said on Twitter.

“The initial restrictions have had an impact on the curve,” Mohamed Mabrook Azeez, spokesman for the president’s office, said in an interview on Monday. “We feel that more measures are needed to further slow down the number of positive cases.”

The country had already extended the curfew once this month as well as imposing other restrictions in the capital of Malé and surrounding districts as cases surge even though 42% of its population has had two doses of vaccine. The situation mirrors that of Seychelles, another Indian ocean nation where cases have surged even though 64% of the population, the most in the world, has been fully vaccinated. So far, the reasons for the surge in both countries isn’t clear.

The Maldives confirmed 1,559 new cases on Sunday with 1,135 in the Greater Male area. Total active cases were 23,464 in the country of about 391,000 people. The total number of deaths reached 134 on Monday, according to data from the Health Protection Agency, which notifies the nation on Twitter whenever a Maldivian dies of the disease.

The outbreak isn’t affecting tourism areas significantly, Azeez said.

In the tourism-dependent economy, 97% of resort employees have received a first vaccine dose and 56% are fully inoculated. Of all tourism arrivals, less than 0.2% were positive, Azeez said.The

Maldives has been using vaccines from Sinopharm, AstraZeneca Plc. Seychelles has used Sinopharm and Astrazeneca vaccines.

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