Maldives first South Asian country to open borders after four months of closure due to COVID-19

Joali, Maldives

Joali, Maldives

By Habib Toumi

Malé: The Maldives will re-open its borders for international tourists staying in resorts, live boards and hotels located in uninhabited islands on July 15.

Guesthouses and hotels located in inhabited islands will be open from August 1, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has said.

The country had closed its borders on March 27 amid stringent public health measures taken to curb COVID-19 spread that resulted in impacting the economy where  the tourism industry, the biggest economic contributor in the country, accounts for the largest foreign exchange earnings.

The Maldives recorded its first coronavirus case on March 7 and by April 15, the greater Malé region went into a complete lockdown.

With a population of 520,000, the Maldives has up to June 24 registered 2,238 cases, 1,813 recoveries and eight deaths.

As tourism is set to resume in compliance with protective measures the safety of tourists and staff working in the industry are being taken into account, the authorities said.

The guidelines for re-opening the tourism sector, “Public Health Interventions to Prevent COVID-19 Transmission in the Tourism Sector”, were released by the Ministry of Tourism, giving comprehensive information for all sectors across the tourism industry on their standard operating procedures, as well as important information to tourists.

According to the guidelines, tourists are not required to pay an additional fee, produce a certificate or test result indicative of negative status for COVID-19 prior to entry into Maldives.

For tourists without symptoms, there is no requirement for quarantine either. The guideline will be periodically reviewed based on further developments.

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