Speaker Nasheed says borders may reopen on July 16

Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed wears a mask to protect from the spread of the new coronavirus as he presides over a parliamentary sitting. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed, on Monday, said that while a definitive date for the reopening of Maldives’ borders has yet to be finalized, he has been informed the borders will reopen on July 16.

Nasheed made the remark during the parliamentary sitting on Monday afternoon, in response to a motion presented by Central Hithadhoo MP Mohamed Rasheed which calls for Maldives to reopen its borders to promote economic activity by declaring coronavirus-free zones.

Nasheed said that living in fear is not a permanent solution.

“Taking precautions to the extent of ensuring no one gets infected with this virus means confining the entire Maldivian population to small cells, or to complete isolation,” he said.

Nasheed said the majority of parliamentarians were in agreement that the country must find a way to live with the new coronavirus, and continue to hold parliamentary sittings.

Referring to the recommendations presented by the Parliament to safe tourism guidelines, Nasheed said that while it had been passed by the Parliament to allow tourists to enter Maldives without any additional fees and without having to undergo mandatory quarantine, a date on which the country will reopen its borders for tourists remained undecided.

“We remain undecided on a definitive date to reopen the borders. I have been informed that it will be July 16. But a definitive decision and the exact day - this will be decided by the government,” said Nasheed.

Tourism Ministry has announced Maldives will reopen its borders to tourists in July, but has yet to announce a specific date.

Several parliamentarians, including Hanimaadhoo MP Abdul Gafoor Moosa, have demanded that the government announce an exact date.

Meanwhile, the safe tourism guidelines drafted by Tourism Ministry in preparation of the reopening of Maldives’ borders remains under review of the National Taskforce on Resilience Building and Economic Recovery.

While Tourism Ministry has yet to release the final guidelines, it has announced that tourists will be issued on-arrival visa without any conditions, and will not be imposed additional fees and will not be required to undergo mandatory quarantine.