Director-General of Health Protection Agency (HPA) Maimoona Aboobakuru revised travel restrictions on resorts and liveaboards operating across the country, as the 14-day quarantine mark approaches for many of the islands and vessels. The travel ban was placed as a preventive measure amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The restrictions prohibit travel from liveaboards and resorts to any inhabited islands and vice versa. In addition, travelling from one resort to another is also banned.
However, HPA makes exceptions for certain cases such as:
- Employees of resorts and liveaboards travelling to their workplace
- Tourists travelling to the airport for departure
- Resort staff escorting tourists to the airport for departure, after which they must return to their place of work
- Resort and liveaboard supplier staff, who are allowed near resort jetties and liveaboards but not allowed to step off on the islands or vessels
According to HPA guidelines, any employee who wishes to leave a resort where tourists are present must complete a 14-day quarantine period at the isolation area designated on the island. Staff members will only be allowed off the resort after being tested for COVID-19 and completing an exit screening process.
In the event that the entry date of the last tourist to arrive exceeds14 days, resort employees may leave the island if no positive, symptomatic or suspected COVID-19 cases were previously identified.
Resort employees may also leave 14 days after the last tourist has departed the island. In this case, no positive, symptomatic or suspected COVID-19 cases must be identified at the resort.
Staff members of liveaboards may step off the vessel a minimum of 14 days after the last tourist has departed.
For all of the aforementioned cases, employees will need to obtain a permit granted by HPA, which will be issued after the agency is provided any and all required information.
HPA formerly banned all travel between resorts and inhabited islands on March 15 in an attempt to control the spread of virus within the community. The ban was implemented under the state of public health emergency declared in Maldives on March 12, on the order of Director General of Public Health.
Maldives, like many other countries, has moved to quarantine a number of areas with suspected cases, isolating suspected and confirmed cases alike. On March 14, the Maldivian government banned any and all movement between resorts and inhabited islands, for a 14-day period, as one of the first preventive measures against COVID-19. The travel ban was extended to liveaboards and safaris on March 21.
The country now records 18 confirmed and five active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 13 recoveries. While there are two confirmed cases of Maldivians, no local to local transmissions are recorded.
The World Health Organization has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected over 785,807 people and claimed over 37,822 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 165,659 people have recovered.