Maldives has banned the entry of people from seven countries as a first precautionary measure against the new Covid-19 variant Omicron.
The countries included South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Eswatini.
The travel ban will come into effect from November 28 midnight.
Those who have been in transit for more than 12 hours and those who have been in transit for more than 14 days in these countries will be banned from arriving in the Maldives for the time being.
Maldivians who have transited in the country for more than 12 hours and those with a work visa are required to complete a 14-day quarantine period. They will be released from quarantine after testing negative for COVID-19.
Maldives has also ordered people who have already started the journey to Maldives and those who have already arrived from those countries in the past 14 days to do a PCR test. Those who spend 14 days or more in the Maldives requires, an additional PCR test after 14 days and those who leave before 14 days also have to do a PCR test before the departure.
Several countries have imposed travel restrictions after the discovery of a new coronavirus variant in South Africa. Scientists have expressed concerns that the new strain – identified as B.1.1.529 – could be more resistant to vaccines and could spread more easily. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned against imposing new travel restrictions.