Maldives installs sampling station to test liveaboard guests for outbound flight
A sampling station has been established in the satellite town of Hulhumale to make it easier for guests staying on liveaboard vessels to get tested for coronavirus before their return journey home.
Following a tourism ministry circular on Monday regarding PCR tests for departing tourists, National Boating Association of Maldives (NBAM), together with the ministry, Housing Development Corporation (HDC), Health Protection Agency (HPA) and police, has established the first PCR sampling Station in Hulhumale’ for passengers departing from liveboard vessels.
According to the tourism ministry, vessels operating or cruising across the country may coordinate with the atoll or regional hospital focal points and make arrangements for sampling.
However, safari vessels are required to keep a stock of UTM test kits and make arrangements of sample transportation through atoll collection points or any other means of transportation.
The special testing hut located near the jetty area in Hulhumale is a proactive initiative proposed by NBAM to the tourism ministry and HDC. The team coordinated well and set up the hut in five days to facilitate the departure testing for the liveaboard industry.
The first sample was collected at the testing booth on Tuesday.
The tourism ministry advises all facilities to follow guidelines set by all relevant authorities.
All facilities are also reminded to ensure that tourists who require a test result for their outbound flight or onward destination are not taken to the airport for departure without a negative test result on hand.
Details of the guests to be tested must be shared in advance via email (email@example.com) or by calling +960 7970033, in order to prebook and make the sampling arrangements.
Boat operators must also ensure that the samples are taken sufficiently in advance to ensure enough time for tests to be run in time for the departure flights.
The Maldives reopened its borders to visitors on July 15.
With the border reopening, resorts and hotels on uninhabited islands as well as liveaboard vessels are now allowed to host tourists (please see a rolling list of resort reopenings here).
Guesthouses and hotels located on inhabited islands will be allowed to reopen later. Passengers on cruise ships and yachts will be barred from disembarking at inhabited islands until then.
Thirty-day free on-arrival visa will be issued to all tourists with a confirmed booking for a stay at any registered tourist facility in the country. The entire holiday has to be booked at a single facility except for transit arrangements.
There will be no mandatory quarantine or testing on arrival. Tourists will only have to complete a health declaration form.
But visitors with symptoms of the Covid-19 respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus or those travelling with someone who has similar symptoms will be tested at their expense.