A total of 40,192 resort employees have received first doses of the Covid-19 vaccinations, under the government’s “Covid-19 Dhifaau” inoculation drive.
According to the latest statistics publicized by the Ministry of Tourism, 97 percent of workers employed in the Maldives tourism industry have received first doses of the vaccination against the global Covid-19 pandemic by May 11.
Further, the ministry revealed that 48 percent of resort workers have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
As such, 39,440 resort workers, 306 guesthouse employees, 220 workers in liveaboard vessels, 70 in hotels, 64 performing arts in resorts, 25 in the travel agencies, and 67 staff members at the tourism ministry have been vaccinated thus far.
Authorities launched the Covid-19 inoculation drive for tourism industry workers on 4 February 2021 and the tourism ministry had in mid-April, allowed resort workers to travel to residential islands after completing both vaccination doses. Priority is being given to vaccinate tourism sector employees who come in close contact with tourists, such as those working on liveaboard vessels, guesthouse employees and those performing guest service roles at various tourist establishments.
After the Health Protection Agency (HPA) introduced eases for travel restrictions implemented nationwide due to reducing case numbers earlier, the public health authority gave the green light for resort workers to travel to residential islands without the requirement to quarantine, if they have completed two weeks after their second Covid-19 vaccination shot. However, terms and conditions apply.
However, since then cases have been surging to alarming numbers over the past few weeks. As such, over 1,000 cases are being reported of recent. The ministry revealed that 0.19 percent of tourist that arrived in the Maldives between 15 July – 31 December 2020 had tested positive for the virus, whereas the positivity rate among tourists between 1 January – 12 May 2021 was at 0.27 percent.
Some of the measures currently implemented due to the recent spike in cases include a temporary suspension of tourist visas for those travelling from South Asian countries to the Maldives. This safety measure is effective from May 13.
Further, the ministry has also launched a nation-wide inspection of guesthouses and hotels during which the compliance of tourist facilities in the local islands will be checked for safety protocols and guidelines set in place by relevant authorities. This, the ministry said, is important for the safety of tourists, employees and the general public.
At a time the minister had asserted that the tourism industry is expected to recover and equalize suitably during July, tourist arrivals being reported so far this ongoing year have been steadily increasing. Maldives tourism took a hard hit due to the pandemic and the tourism-revival journey was slow into the beginning since borders reopened during July 2020.
The Maldives has been making steady efforts to resuscitate tourism across the island nation, and began a large-scale Covid-19 vaccination programme for airport workers and tourism sector employees as well.
Earlier the ministry launched the "I'm Vaccinated" campaign with an aim to share a positive message regarding vaccinations of staff employed in the industry as well as promoting initiatives taken to ensure the Maldives remains one of the safest travel destinations.
The ministry aims to make Maldives the first fully-vaccinated tourism sector globally. The stringent health and safety guidelines currently in place will pave way for this target to be reached, in addition to the added advantage of Maldives' unique formation which ensures social distancing.