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Traveling to the Maldives during Covid-19: What You Need to Know Before You Go

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Editor’s note: Coronavirus cases are changing worldwide. Health officials warn that staying home is the best way to slow down transmission until it is fully vaccinated. Below is information on what to see if you still plan to travel, the last update was on December 29th.

(CNN) – If you are planning travel in the Maldives, here’s what you need to know and expect if you want to visit them during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

The Maldives reopened borders to all travelers from all countries on July 15, 2020. The main exception to this is the crowded capital city of Male, which is off-limits to visitors as it has been the source of most of the country’s coronavirus cases.

What is offered

This is the destination of couples to end all the others: luxury hotels located on private islands, with rooms cantilevered on the water, in case a walk on the beach is too much effort.

Who can go

The Maldives is currently open to visitors from all countries except South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Eswatini, as long as they have a negative Covid test done no later than four days. before his arrival.

In early 2021, the destination launched a loyalty program which rewards regular visitors with points based on the frequency and duration of their trips. Those who earn a lot of points will move on to different levels of elite status that offer benefits, such as hotel discounts.

What are the restrictions?

Travelers arriving from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Eswatini are currently unable to enter the Maldives.

This also applies to those who have visited these countries in the last 14 days, as well as travelers who have traveled to these destinations for more than 12 hours before traveling to the Maldives.

Visitors from all other destinations You must present a certificate of a negative PCR test performed within 96 hours prior to departure, clearly stating the name and address of the laboratory, as well as the date of the sample taken, regardless of your vaccination status. .

The result must be attached to Passenger health statement form, which must be submitted online within 24 hours prior to arrival. Visitors are asked to download the national contact tracking application, TraceEkee, and use it during their trip.

These restrictions were temporarily lifted for fully vaccinated travelers earlier this year, but have since been reintroduced.

All non-tourist arrivals in the UK, including passengers in transit, must be subject to forty or seven days for those who are vaccinated, or 14 days for unvaccinated travelers.

However, these requirements do not apply to tourists and the Maldives has been removed from the UK Red List from 22 September.

Visitors can divide the stays between hotels. However, if you spend more than 48 hours in the Gran Malé area, you must take another PCR test before moving to another location.

Those who are not fully vaccinated can stay in accommodation on the local islands as long as 60% of the population, including 90% of those over 65 and 95% of tourism staff, are fully vaccinated.

What is the situation of Covid?

The Maldives has reported a total of more than 95,000 cases of coronavirus and 262 deaths as of December 29.

Although the numbers have remained relatively low for the most part, Covid-19 cases have gone from about 100 to more than 1,500 in the space of a month, leading to a short-term ban. deadline for South Asian visitors on May 13th.

Although a record 2,194 cases were reported on May 20, the numbers have dropped significantly since then, with 1,044 cases reported the week before December 29.

The country began deploying the Indian-made AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine on February 1. Hospitality workers were included in the first round of citizens to get vaccinated.

Earlier this year, Dr. Abdulla Mausoom, Minister of Tourism of the Maldives, previously confirmed that the Maldives is developing a “Visit, Vaccination and Vacation” scheme called “3V” that would allow visitors to receive a vaccine against Covid. -19 on arrival.

The program will not go ahead until the entire population of the country, estimated at just under 550,000, has been fully vaccinated.

As of December 29, approximately 367,068 people in the Maldives had been given a full dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

What can visitors expect?

The Maldives is being sold as a destination that offers a “normal” holiday, thanks to the isolation of most hotels and the fact that the vast majority of visitors stay at the resort instead of venturing out.

This means that while venues are subject to restrictions, those coming and going from the airport are exempt. Stays divided between different hotels are allowed, if the hotels meet the government requirements. Requests for split stays must be made to the Ministry of Tourism at least 48 hours before the trip.

Also, expect your resort to have some rules, especially a temperature control on arrival and the masks to be worn inside. Since most items in stores need to be shipped to the Maldives, some things can get expensive: ‘island.

Useful links:

Our recent coverage

Wondering what it’s like to visit now? reads this piece, which details the pandemic holiday experience.
If you are planning your trip, check out our list of best dining experiences. And he knows the Maldives “barefoot pilots”. And if a travel bubble is what you want, you’re in luck: Waldorf Astoria Maldives has just unveiled its latest property, a private island in the Maldives called Ithaafushi, available for $ 80,000 per night.

CNN’s Julia Buckley, Tamara Hardingham-Gill and Lilit Marcus contributed to this report

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