Maldives imposes travel ban from seven African countries over Omicron variant

Maldives will bar entry to most travellers from seven southern African countries starting on Sunday, after a potentially more-contagious new coronavirus variant was identified in South Africa, the country’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) announced Saturday.

The restrictions apply to South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini and Mozambique.

Foreigners who have been in those countries within the prior 14 days, including those that have had a transit of over 12 hours in one of the seven countries, will not be allowed into the island nation.

Maldivians and work permit holders travelling from those countries must quarantine for 14 days.

Travellers who are already on their way to the Maldives from the seven countries will need to do a PCR test right away, do another PCR test on the 14th day of their stay in the country if their stay exceeds two weeks. Those with shorter stay periods are also required to undergo testing before their departure from the Maldives.

Countries around the world rushed to suspend travel from southern Africa after the World Health Organization said Omicron was “of concern.” Many of those bans kick in immediately, like the one announced by the Maldives.

Maldives reopened its borders to tourists of all nationalities on July 15, 2020, with rigorous procedures in place to ensure the safety of tourists and tourism workers.

Tourists are required to fill an online health declaration form within 24 hours prior to their departure, as well as have a negative PCR test result, conducted 96 hours prior to their departure.

In order to strengthen the measures, the administration of the Covid-19 vaccine was initiated on February 1 with the government of Maldives set to provide free Covid-19 vaccines to all citizens and residents of the country in the upcoming months.

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