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Tourists can enter Maldives without testing for COVID-19: HPA

Mariyam Malsa
13 June 2020, MVT 19:19
Passengers wearing masks at Velana International Airport. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/ MIHAARU
Mariyam Malsa
13 June 2020, MVT 19:19

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) publicised draft guidelines permitting tourists to enter Maldives without presenting the results of a COVID-19 test.

Although the government initially stated that all incoming tourists would be tested for COVID-19, HPA's draft guidelines exempt visitors scheduled to spend their holidays at resorts from undergoing tests.

Tourists will be barred from travelling to local islands placed under monitoring.

However, HPA mandated holidaymakers arriving in Maldives to observe social distancing measures and wear facemasks. Passengers will also undergo thermal screening and be referred to the airport clinic if high temperatures, breathing difficulties or other symptoms are observed.

All individuals flagged during thermal screening will be tested for COVID-19 and placed in isolation until results are received. Those that test negative will be allowed to continue to their booked resorts while individuals that test positive will be transferred to an isolation facility.

Additionally, tourists that have previously contracted COVID-19 and recovered from the virus will be carefully monitored.

HPA urged all tourists visiting Maldives to download the 'TraceEkee' online application used for detailed 'contact tracing'.

HPA Regulations for resorts

All resorts in Maldives are mandated to establish medical clinics in accordance with guidelines and regulations set by the Ministry of Health. Doctors and nurses must be stationed at each resort.

Each resort management is also required to form a COVID-19 taskforce which consists of staff from different departments and include medical health sector professionals.

The taskforces, each led by a COVID-19 safety officer, are required to convey information to HPA on a regular basis.

Furthermore, resorts are required to create a protocol to deal with COVID-19 patients and high-risk individuals. A room on the establishment must be designated for the purpose of isolating tourists or staff if circumstances require such measures. Resorts must also have a stock of personal protection equipment (PPE).

On May 31, the Ministry of Tourism released a statement declaring that the country would reopen its borders for visitors in July 2020, four months after Maldives' virus-prompted travel ban.

In his third address to the public following the World Health Organization (WHO)'s declaration of a global pandemic, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih revealed that permits to re-open resorts would be granted once commercial flights returned to Maldivian runways.

He added that experts were formulating specialised procedural guidelines for recommencing operations.

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