Maldives imposes ban on travelers from Sri Lanka

Bandaranaike International Airport.

Maldives, on Saturday, imposed a ban on air travel from neighboring Sri Lanka, following a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in the country.

Maldives Immigration has issued a travel advisory, which states that the travel ban on Sri Lanka took effect at 6:00 am this Saturday.

Passengers or crew with a travel history to Sri Lanka within the last 14 days will no longer be allowed to enter or transit through Maldives.

Maldivian nationals who wish to return home are exempt from this ban, but will need to undergo 14-day quarantine at a facility designated by the Maldivian government, with a recent shift in protocol ordered by the Director General of Public Health Maimoona Aboobakuru.

Maldives had previously only quarantined inbound local passengers travelling from locations which it had travel restrictions on, while other inbound passengers travelling from other locations are ordered to 14-day self-isolation at home.

However, the Director General of Public Health, at 4 am this Saturday, issued an order for all passengers travelling to Maldives via air, whether Maldivian nationals or foreign nationals, with the exception of tourists who have made bookings at resorts, to be placed under 14-day quarantine at facilities designated by the government.

Sri Lanka, on Friday, announced a rise in total confirmed virus cases to 70. It has imposed a nationwide weekend curfew in a bid to contain the spread of the virus, and has suspended issuance of visas to foreign nationals.

Though Sri Lanka is no longer issuing visas, it has decided to grant 30-day extensions to foreign nationals in the country from March 14 to April 12.

Additional locations Maldives has travel bans on includes; China, Iran, Italy, Spain, Malaysia, Bangladesh, United Kingdom, regions of South Korea (North Gyeongsang Province and South Gyeongsang Province), regions of France (Île-de-France and Grand Est), and regions of Germany (Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Baden-Württemberg).

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.