Maldives Permit Locals to Travel to Resorts with Negative PCR Test
Health Protection Agency (HPA) has publicised new regulations for Maldivian Locals, allowing them to be able to travel to resorts.
According to the recent guidelines instigated by HPA, locals traveling to resorts will need a negative PCR test that is less than 72 hours old and must have accommodation as well as food arranged for them separately from the resort staff. However, HPA states that locals and workers going to resorts for short stays outside the Male’ Area (Male’, Hulhumale’ and Vilimale’) would be subject to 10 days of quarantine.
Furthermore, from 20th December onwards, locals and expats with work visa traveling from abroad must have a PCR negative result obtained within 96 hours from the first port. Children below the age of 1 are exempted.
PCR negative results will not be required before traveling to other islands to provide essential services.
After the first case of the virus was identified in the country in March 2020, Maldives went into a nationwide lockdown, closing its borders and ceasing local tourism as a safety measure to control the spread of the COVID-19.
The country was quick to take the necessary measures for the safety of everyone at risk by establishing quarantine facilities and relevant operating procedures.
On 15 July 2020, the Maldives re-opened its borders, with 43 resorts in operation. While the country restarted welcoming guests to enjoy their stay with the hotels, there were new guidelines and procedures placed, such as the airports being newly fitted with thermal scanners and markers placed to ensure social distancing.
Presently, the tourism industry of the country is slowly bouncing back up, with the majority of hospitality establishments being fully open for guests. Maldives has also extended ‘Split Stay’ for all types of tourist accommodation facilities, allowing tourists to split their stay between resort, hotels, guesthouses, and liveaboard boats, with prior approval as per split-stay procedure and guideline by the Ministry of Tourism.
While there is no mandatory quarantine or testing on arrival, tourists traveling to the Maldives are required to complete an online health declaration form and provide a negative PCR test result taken at least 96 hours prior to their departure.
The negative PCR test result must be attached while completing the Traveler Health Declaration form, which has to be submitted online via IMUGA (www.imuga.immigration.gov.mv), by all arriving passengers before arrival (but not exceeding 24 hours before arrival time).
Since the borders reopened, there has been a gradual increase in tourist arrivals due to the establishment of travel bubbles between Maldives and other countries, as well as greater connectivity in terms of flight operations. Over 18 airlines are currently traveling to and from Maldives, from all around the globe.
On 6th December, Maldives broke the record of daily arrivals since the reopening which was a total of 3,006 tourists, whereas the air traffic movement on this date was 352. According to the latest travel statistics, the current total number of annual arrivals is 468,693 with Russia leading the list, whilst the total number of arrivals since the reopening of borders is 85,846.