The Maldives’ Health Protection Agency (HPA) has banned non-essential travel between islands and atolls in a bid to curb a new surge in Covid-19 infections, local media reported on Monday.

Non-essential travel between islands and atolls will be banned starting Tuesday, according to a circular signed by Director General of Public Health Maimoona Aboobakuru on Sunday.

The ban does not apply to trips between Male, Villimale, Hulhumale, Thilafushi and Gulhifalhu, reports Xinhua news agency.

Only individuals travelling for essential services such as medical treatment may move between islands.

Meanwhile, local councils have been instructed by the HPA to ensure supplies of essentials such as food and medicine in their respective islands.

Daily average cases in the Maldives have risen to over 400, with infections spreading outside the capital region of Greater Male.

The total number of active cases stands at 5,594, out of which 172 have been hospitalised for treatment.