The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has, beginning Wednesday, permitted residents in the capital city of Male' to visit other islands for a maximum of five days without a mandatory quarantine period, provided that individuals travel for essential purposes or the provision of services.
Individuals with clearance to forgo the standard 14-day quarantine period include employees of media outlets, banks and health facilities as well as utility service providers such as water supply and electricity. Maintenance workers and individuals employed in government-sponsored projects or private sector initiatives can also travel for work-related purposes.
According to HPA, workers must submit an application before travelling and can only depart after receiving clearance.
Prior to sending workers to other islands, employers are required to ensure that staff do not exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19. If authorities have collected samples from a worker, the individual is not permitted to travel before receiving the test results.
HPA urged all individuals travelling under these permits to practise social distancing and adhere to the agency's guidelines during their work.
Although the government has lifted the ban on inter-island travel, restrictions on movement between islands in the Male' region remain in place due to the continued spread of COVID-19 in the capital.
As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, Maldives' capital Malé recorded a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in the first weeks following the first confirmed local transmission on April 15.
Following a sustained increase in recoveries, the state initiated efforts to steer the country towards a 'new normal'. As part of the phased easing of lockdown restrictions across the Greater Male' Region, unrestricted movement was permitted from June 15 onwards while government offices and businesses including shops, cafe's and restaurants restarted services on July 1. Authorities reopened Maldives' borders for tourism on July 15.
The number of COVID-19 cases has since increased with the total amount of recovered patients falling from its peak 86 to 78 percent.
Maldives presently records a total number of positive cases at 3,044 with 617 active cases. Till date, the country recorded 2,397 recoveries and 15 fatalities.
On March 12, WHO classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. To date, the new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 15.1 million people and claimed over 620,309 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 9.1 million people have recovered.