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UK to remove travel advisory against Maldives

Ahmed Aiham
23 October 2020, MVT 09:16
The British Airways flight that landed at VIA on Saturday. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF TOURISM
Ahmed Aiham
23 October 2020, MVT 09:16

The United Kingdom (UK), on Thursday, revealed its decision to remove Maldives from the UK Global Travel Advisory, which cautions British citizens against non-essential travel.

With this development, travellers to Maldives will not need to self-isolate upon returning to UK, from Sunday onwards.

"I am delighted that UK COVID-19 travel restrictions have been lifted for Maldives. The travel industry here, and in the UK, tell us there is pent-up demand among British tourists", said British High Commissioner to Maldives Caron Rohsler.

According to the High Commissioner, the steady reduction in cases, which are concentrated in the Greater Male’ Region, was important to influence the UK's decision.

"Nobody wants to go back into lockdowns and travel restrictions. So, it’s up to each and every one of us to keep ourselves, and each other, safe".

Maldives commenced discussions with UK, seeking to secure a placement for Maldives on UK's list of countries exempted from UK's Global Travel Advisory, in late August.

In addition to the Greater Male' Region, active virus cases are currently present in 21 inhabited islands as well as 23 resorts across the archipelago.

Maldives currently records a total of 11,358 virus cases of which 931 are active cases, in addition to 10,383 recoveries and 37 deaths.

During August, authorities tightened the safety measures implemented in the Greater Male' region, following an alarming upsurge of COVID-19 cases after the state initiated efforts to steer the country towards a 'new normal' with the phased easing of lockdown restrictions.

Maldives reopened its borders to international passengers on July 15, after nearly four months since the state halted issuing on-arrival visas on March 27. Guesthouses were permitted to resume operations and kick start local tourism on October 15.

Despite the lifting of restrictions, Maldives has noted a significant reduction in tourist arrivals compared to pre-COVID figures, with only 22,007 tourists arriving between July 15 and October 5.

All tourists entering Maldives are required to present a negative COVID-19 test conducted within 96 hours prior to arrival and are subjected to thermal screenings at the airport.

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