Traveling to the Maldives during Covid-19: what you need to know before you go
CNN Travel Staff
If you are planning to travel to the Maldives, here is what you need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Maldives reopened its borders to all travelers from all countries on July 15, 2020. The main exception to this rule is the densely populated capital of Male, which is off-limits to visitors as it was the source of the majority of coronavirus of the country. case.
What’s on offer
It’s the destination for couples to end all the rest – luxury hotels located on private islands, with cantilevered rooms above the water, just in case a stroll to the beach. beach would be too much effort.
Who can go
From May 13, travelers from South Asia are temporarily banned from entering the Maldives.
The rules apply to all visa holders from India, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, as well as those who have passed through these countries during the two last few weeks.
However, the country has announced that it will reopen its borders to visitors from South Asia from July 15.
Currently, the Maldives is open to visitors from all other destinations, provided they have proof of a negative Covid test.
Travelers from the UK are currently subject to a 10-day quarantine.
The Maldives has been one of the few travel successes of 2020, and it looks like this trend will continue into 2021, despite some setbacks.
At the end of February, more than 140 resorts and more than 330 guest houses were open and serving international visitors.
The destination has launched a loyalty program that rewards repeat visitors with points based on the frequency and duration of their trips. Those who accumulate a lot of points will be propelled to various elite status levels that offer perks including discounts on hotels.
What are the restrictions?
All arrivals other than Maldivian citizens and those who are fully vaccinated must present a certificate of a negative PCR test carried out within 96 hours of departure, clearly indicating the name and address of the laboratory, as well as the date of the sample.
The result must be attached to the traveler’s health declaration form which must be submitted online within 24 hours of arrival. Visitors are encouraged to download the national contact tracing application, TraceEkee, and use it while traveling.
Tourists are allowed to divide stays between hotels. However, if you spend more than 48 hours in the Grand Malé region, you must take another PCR test before moving elsewhere.
Since the discovery of the new UK variant at the end of December, all travelers arriving from the UK, including transit passengers, have to undergo a 10-day quarantine.
From April 20, fully vaccinated tourists are not required to submit a negative PCR test upon arrival or adhere to quarantine restrictions provided they present proof that their second dose of a vaccine recognized by the World Organization. health was administered at least two weeks prior to travel. .
Those arriving to work in healthcare facilities, daycares, schools and residential care services are required to present a negative PCR test upon arrival, regardless of their immunization status.
Travelers visiting an island where 60% of the population (including resorts / guesthouses and hotel islands) are fully vaccinated will be exempt from quarantine measures.
What is the situation of the Covid?
The Maldives reported a total of 73,931 coronavirus cases and 213 deaths as of July 2.
While numbers mostly remain relatively low, Covid-19 cases have risen from around 100 to over 1,500 in the space of a month, prompting a short-term ban on visitors from South Asia May 13.
Although a record 2,194 cases were reported on May 20, the numbers have since declined significantly, with 133 cases recorded on July 1.
The country began the deployment of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine made in India on February 1. Hospitality workers were included in the first group of citizens to be vaccinated. Nearly 470,000 people in the Maldives had received their first dose of the vaccine by May 28.
Maldives Minister of Tourism Dr Abdulla Mausoom confirmed that the Maldives was developing a ‘visit, vaccination and vacation’ program named ‘3V’ that would allow visitors to receive a Covid-19 vaccine upon arrival.
The program will not take place until the country’s entire population, estimated at just under 550,000, has been fully immunized.
As of July 2, just over 190,000 people in the Maldives had received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.
What can visitors expect?
The Maldives presents itself as a destination with a ‘normal’ vacation, thanks to the isolation of most hotels and the vast majority of visitors staying in the resort rather than venturing outside.
This means that while premises are restricted, those coming and going from the airport are exempt. Split stays between different hotels are allowed, if the hotels meet government requirements. Requests for split stays must be sent to the Ministry of Tourism at least 48 hours before the trip.
Also expect your resort to have a few rules – particularly temperature control on arrival and masks to wear inside. As most items in stores need to be shipped to the Maldives, some things can get expensive – you need to bring things like masks and hand sanitizer with you to avoid spending on the island chain.
Updates from the Covid-19 tourist office
The latest figures from the Ministry of Health
Our recent coverage
Find out how wealthy Indians were excluded from the Maldives due to the temporary ban on South Asian travelers, and why the destination hopes to lure travelers with vaccines upon arrival.
Wondering what it’s like to visit right now? Read this article, which details the pandemic vacation experience.
If you’re planning your trip, check out our list of the best dining experiences. And meet the “barefoot pilots” of the Maldives. And if a travel bubble is what you want, you’re in luck – the Waldorf Astoria Maldives has just revealed its latest property, a private Maldives island called Ithaafushi, available for $ 80,000 a night.
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CNN’s Julia Buckley, Tamara Hardingham-Gill and Lilit Marcus contributed to this report