(IMAGE CREDITS: UNSPLASH/PTI)
As governments across the globe impose restrictions on travellers from India, Maldives has recently joined in the list as the restrictions have been tightened due to a surge in COVID-19 crisis. The Indian Ocean archipelago’s Health Protection Agency said that the residents of Male will be required to stay indoors from 4 p.m., until 4 a.m. Also, visas for tourists from India and other nations in South Asia will be halted from May 13. “As a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19, entry is temporarily suspended for tourists originating from South Asian countries, effective from 13th May 2021. With this change, all categories of visa holders originating from South Asian countries are now temporarily restricted to enter Maldives, until further notice”, read the press release.
⚠️The temporary suspension of entry to the Maldives for all categories of visa holders from South Asia may impact flights between India & the Maldives.— India in Maldives (@HCIMaldives) May 12, 2021
⚠️Indian tourists already in the Maldives may make necessary travel arrangements to return to India. https://t.co/I8XyjUmxCA
As per the release, these restrictions apply on travellers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Also, this applies to travelers transited in South Asian countries for the past 14 days. The healthcare professionals with valid work permits have been exempted from this.
However, the healthcare professionals are required to hold a PCR negative result with a sample taken 96 hours prior to their departure to the Maldives. They will also have to undergo home quarantine for 14 days. They will only be released from home quarantine after they show a negative PCR test. Also, all inbound travelers from other countries are obliged to hold a PCR negative result with a sample taken 96 hours prior to their departure from the first port of embarkation en-route to the Maldives.
Last week, Maldives imposed night curfew in lieu of a sudden spike in the COVID-19 cases . The cases surged due to the indoor gathering in the holy month of Ramadan, and the onslaught of tourists from abroad. Maldives’ health protection Agency announced the concern of the rising cases and chaired a special committee to discuss measures for the containment of fresh COVID-19 infections. The country quickly ramped up its vaccination campaign as it announced the second dose drive of India’s exported Covishield vaccine at the Social Center and Hulhumale' Vaccination Center for the population that was administered with the first shot in February. “This is to ensure that people receive their second dose before the 12-week period is over”, the health agency said on Twitter as it appealed to the public to come forward and get the jab.
Health Protection Agency (HPA) announced that it was tightening the COVID-19 curfew hours and was imposing restrictions on nonessential movements, including in the Greater Male Region. While the local population was advised to exercise the strictest caution in adherence to the health protocols, tourists were asked to produce mandatory negative PCR tests to enter the country. Last month, as the Maldives held its local council's election on April 10 at schools, government buildings, and stadiums, health authorities feared the spread of the virus due to large gatherings. As the elections coincided with the Ramadan festivities, people also gathered to offer prayers in the capital Male contributing to the onslaught of new infections.