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COVID-19: Maldives extends on-arrival negative PCR test submission period to 96 hrs

Ahmed Aiham
14 October 2020, MVT 17:40
Workers at Velana International Airport conduct temperature checks as tourists and migrants arrive, following the reopening of Maldives' borders on July 15. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI / MIHAARU
Ahmed Aiham
14 October 2020, MVT 17:40

The Ministry of Tourism, on Wednesday, mandated all tourists and short-term visitors to present a negative COVID-19 test conducted within 96 hours prior to their arrival.

The ministry made the announcement, which extends the previously declared maximum validity of 72 hours, easing access to the country for guests embarking on long-distance and time consuming flights.

The decision looms over the government's reopening of local guesthouses. Slated for October 15, the ministry asserted on numerous occasions that operations must be conducted in line with a set of strict regulations, including mandatory public mask wear in islands where guesthouses resume operations.

After a long period of closure as a preventive measure amidst the ongoing pandemic, the state moved towards restarting the guesthouse industry after assessing the present-day situation of the archipelago.

As with numerous countries around the world, in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Maldives closed its air and sea borders to tourist arrivals from March 27 to July 15.

The restrictions on international travel left Maldives' heavily tourism reliant economy in an extremely vulnerable state. In mid-April, the World Bank projected that Maldives would be the worst-hit economy in the South Asian region due to the pandemic

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