Maafaru Covid lab offers free tests for Maldivians
The Maafaru coronavirus testing laboratory in Noonu atoll, a joint venture between the Soneva Foundation and Velaa Private Island resort, is now offering up to 100 complimentary Covid-19 tests for Maldivians every day.
The lab, which recently reopened after an upgrade to increase testing capacity, has also reduced the cost of a test for everyone else to $40, from the previous rate of $55.
Consistent improvements in efficiency at the lab have brought the cost of a test down from $100 last July, to the $40 rate. This rate is the lowest being charged by any laboratory in the country.
The intention of the Maafaru laboratory has always been to be of service to the local community, and has provided tests to resorts and local islands in Baa, Raa, Lhaviyani and Noonu atolls.
To date, no dividend has been derived from the laboratory, and any surplus revenue generated will be split between Velaa resort and the Soneva Foundation, a UK registered non-profit.
The Soneva Foundation invests in community projects in the Maldives, such as Namoona Baa, a community-led initiative to eliminate single use plastics, tackle the waste problem in local islands, and end the open burning of garbage.
The Maafaru lab is also offering complimentary training to nurses at resorts, to teach them how to take coronavirus samples and submit them to the lab.
Soneva is a strong believer in rigorous testing of both resort hosts and guests, in order to ensure that any Covid-19 cases are quickly identified and carriers are quarantined, thus preventing community spread in resorts and reducing the number of overall cases in the Maldives.
It is the lab’s intention to find ways to further lower the cost charged per test, thus encouraging more extensive testing in resorts.
Soneva currently runs two resorts in the Maldives: Soneva Fushi in Baa atoll and Soneva Jani in Noonu atoll. The world-leading luxury resort operator also operates luxury yacht Soneva in Aqua in Maldives, and Soneva Kiri resort in Thailand.
Soneva tests all guests and employees prior to their arrival at Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani resorts.
Guests are asked to remain in the privacy of their villa, which comes with its own private pool and private beach, for a maximum of 24 hours until the test results are received. If the result is negative, they are free to leave their rooms and carry on as normal.