The Maldives re-opened its borders on July 15, 2020. Unlike the rest of the world, there won’t be any quarantines, there won’t be the need for a negative COVID-19 test, and travelers will not be expected to pay additional fees related to new safety protocols or be required to apply for additional health related visas.
When I first heard this, I thought it was a pretty crazy idea, but the unique layout of the Maldives puts the island chain at an advantage that most other countries could never offer.
Guests limited to one resort, one island
Because the island nation is spread over 26 atolls with thousands of island in between, the Maldivian government has decided to relax entry requirements but restrict guest movement. For starters, guests will not be allowed to enter the capital of Male itself. Arrangements will be made so that vacationers will be transited directly from Velana International Airport to their respective islands.
International travels will be only allowed to visit the one of the many resort islands, and will have to book their entire stay at one and only one on whatever island they choose to stay on.
The idea is that some of the burden of isolation and prevention of the spread of the virus is shifted to the hotels which have their own set of safety protocols. Also, as most islands tend to be occupied by just one resort, tracing and isolation of the virus would be easier. While it may sound restrictive, at least guests will still be in the comfort of the resorts (which the majority of tourists end up doing anyway).
Inbound travelers will also be required to fill out a health card, and those who do exhibit potential COVID-19 symptoms will be required to take a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test at their own expense to confirm whether they are infected or not. Travelers who test positive will be taken to a government controlled isolation center. Guests will be given the usual 30-day visa at the airport once everything checks out.
Things to note
- Not all resorts have opened as yet, and it is advisable that you check with your hotel before making any bookings. Also take note of any restrictions the individual hotels may have in place.
- Airline restrictions should also be noted, as some may require a test for travel, along with other minimums such as wearing a mask.
- Note that even though the Maldives is allowing test-free entry, tourists should be prepared to quarantine on returning to their home countries.
As of this post, the Maldives have had almost 3,000 infections, with 2,340 recovering and only 15 losing the fight to the disease.
[Featured Photo: Asad Photo Maldives/Pexels]