Maldives imposes temporary ban on tourists from guesthouses, city hotels

Tourists take a stroll down a street in K. Maafushi, a residential island popular for local tourism. (File Photo/Sun/Mohamed Muzain Nazim)

The Director-General of Public Health, on Tuesday, ordered a temporary ban on the check-in of international tourists to guesthouses and city hotels in Maldives, as a special measure to prevent and contain an outbreak of COVID-19 in Maldives.

The ban takes effect at 18:00 hours this Tuesday.

The decision was announced by Tourism Minister Ali Waheed during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

13 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Maldives, all of whom are foreign nationals who were either working or vacationing in resorts or safaris. Of the 13 people, five were from Kuredu Island Resort, two from Sandies Bathala, two from Kuramathi Island Resort, two from Anantara Dhigu, and two from Island Safari-1.

Maldives has declared a state of public health emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic, granting the Director General of Public Health special powers under Section 34 (b) of the Public Health Act to take additional measures to ascertain public health during the period.

The decision on Tuesday expands on an earlier temporary ban ordered by the Director-General of Public Health which had been confined to guesthouses and city hotels in Male’ City and its suburbs, Vilimale’ and Hulhumale’.

President of Guesthouse Association Maldives (GAM), Moosa Nasih said the association had been engaged in discussions with the government since the situation emerged, and that the association acknowledged a temporary ban on tourists from guesthouses to be the right decision, under the current circumstances.

Meanwhile, a ban on the travel of persons between resorts and residential islands also remains in effect.