Director General of Public Health Maimoona Aboobakuru, on Saturday, issued an order for all passengers travelling to Maldives via air, with the exception of tourists who have made bookings at resorts, to be placed under 14-day quarantine at facilities designated by the government.
Maldives had previously only quarantined inbound local passengers travelling from locations which it has travel restrictions on, while other inbound passengers travelling from other locations are ordered to 14-day self-isolation at home.
The stricter order, which was issued at 4 am on Saturday, was effective immediately, and will remain in effect until further notice.
Maldives, on March 12, declared a state of public health emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic, granting the Director General of Public Health the authority to impose special measures to prevent and contain a potential outbreak in Maldives.
Saturday’s order renders the order issued on March 18, which had ordered 14-day self-isolation for all Maldivian nationals who return from locations which Maldives does not have travel restrictions on, null and void.
The new order will apply to both Maldivian and foreign nationals, with the exception of tourists who have bookings in resorts.
Government spokesperson, Mabrook Azeez told Sun the purpose of the new order was to have people quarantined at facilities designated by the government, in order to keep potential infected persons as isolated from the general population as possible.
“The order also allows the option for self-isolation at home. But the intention is to quarantine them in government quarantine facilities. We are working to accommodate all inbound passengers at resorts,” said Mabrook.
The government has now established quarantine facilities at six non-residential islands.
Four islands, a hotel and Dharumavantha Hospital are already in use as isolation and quarantine facilities; Farukolhufushi, Vilivaru, Velidhoo Island Resort, Fun Island Resort, Hulhule’ Island Hotel, and Dharumavantha Hospital.
The Vilivaru Quarantine Facility is being expanded to accommodate 100 more, and the government is working on finding more resorts to repurpose as quarantine facilities.
641 more rooms have been established across 20 atolls for quarantine and isolation purposes outside of established facilities.
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.
11 people continued to be treated, while two have recovered and are undergoing 14 more days under quarantine as a precautionary measure.