British tourist in Maldives tests positive for coronavirus

Tourists at Velana International Airport. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC) announced on Wednesday that a tourist in Maldives has tested positive for the new coronavirus.

In a press conference on Wednesday night, HEOC spokesperson and epidemiologist Dr. Nazla Rafeeq identified the tourist who tested positive as a British national.

It marks the second confirmed coronavirus case among tourists since the Maldives reopened its borders for international travel on July 15. The first case, an American tourist, was identified on July 27.

Nazla said the case was identified on Tuesday, when tested prior to returning to UK, as is required by several airlines.

Nazla said the tourist was vacationing at OBLU SELECT at Sangeli with family members, and that health officials were now testing the rest of the family.

Maldives does not require for tourists to produce a certificate proving negative test results for the new coronavirus, or to be tested upon arrival. However, several airlines require passengers to produce a negative test certificate prior to boarding.

Maldives is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases following the relaxation of the lockdown in the greater Male’ region – the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the country – in July.

Following the surge in cases, authorities implemented additional restrictions on Tuesday, including imposing a temporary ban on travel of persons from Male’ to other residential islands, except those who travel to the capital to access essential services such as healthcare.

Wearing masks when out in public in the greater Male’ region and residential islands with confirmed coronavirus cases is now mandatory, and the wearing of masks in all residential islands, including those with no confirmed cases has been declared highly recommended.

Maldives has 4,594 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 148 new cases recorded on Wednesday. 2,706 of the patients have since recovered, while 19 have died from complications.

The country now has 1,869 active cases. 110 of the patients are hospitalized.