Maldives tightens Covid measures over Omicron, lifts travel ban from southern Africa

Health authorities in Maldives on Sunday tightened measures against Covid-19, with all travellers including fully-vaccinated tourists now required to produce a negative PCR test result taken within 96 hours before their departure to the Maldives.

The island nation earlier scrapped the PCR test result requirement for tourists who had completed a WHO-approved Covid vaccine two weeks before their departure.

The three new measures announced Sunday evening by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) include:

  • All travellers must present a negative PCR test taken not more than 96 hours prior to the time of departure from the first port of embarkation en route to the Maldives. Infants aged less than one year are exempt from this requirement.
  • All travellers except tourists will be required to undergo PCR testing between three and five days from their arrival.
  • Unvaccinated locals and work permit holders will be required to complete a 14-day quarantine upon their arrival.

Meanwhile, the HPA has lifted a ban on arrivals from seven southern African countries which came into effect after the more-contagious new coronavirus variant of Omicron was identified in South Africa in late November.

With the change, travellers from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini and Mozambique are once again allowed to visit the Maldives.

Maldives has recorded five Omicron cases so far, with all the cases linked to tourists who had prior travel history to southern Africa. The country is yet to confirm community transmission of the Omicron variant.

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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