At a time Maldives is observing an alarming spike in Covid-19 infections reported nationwide, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has mandated all travelers to the island nation to present negative PCR test results upon arrival.
In an announcement on Friday night, the public health authority revealed amendments to the policy under which travelers are currently being allowed to enter the Maldives. As such, HPA revealed that all travelers to Maldives including tourists will be required to present a negative PCR test taken 96 hours prior upon arrival.
The directive signed by the Director General of Public Health, Maimoona Aboobakuru reads that the amendment will be effective from 3 May and that those who have completed two doses of the Covid-19 vaccinations will also be required to present negative PCR test certification.
Toddlers below one year are exempt from undergoing Covid-19 testing.
As the order will remain effective until further notice, the relevant authorities such as the Maldives Police Service will be active in implementing the order.
The Director General of Public Health has urged the public to extend cooperation and support as responsible citizens, in assisting the relevant authorities fulfil their duties to implement the new measures.
In mid-April, the public health authority allowed tourists to visit the Maldives without the requirement to present negative PCR test results if they have completed their two doses of Covid-19 vaccination, after April 20. Maldives recently experienced a devastating third peak of the pandemic and although cases observably plunged, in recent weeks the daily case count has been spiraling, with nearly 500 new infections reported nationwide within the past 24 hours alone. This is the highest Covid-19 cases have been reported since the pandemic began sweeping across the island nation on 7 March 2020.
The new measures stem from concerns revolving around the worsening Covid-19 situation in neighboring India. Since Maldives reopened borders for international travel on 15 July 2020 after nearly four months since the government halted issuing on-arrival visas, India remained the top source market for Maldives tourism.