PCR sampling station in Hulhumale’ for tourists departing from safari vessels

A PCR sampling station has been established in suburban Hulhumale’ to screen tourists departing from safari vessels for the new coronavirus.

In a statement on Tuesday, National Boating Association of Maldives (NBAM) said all key stakeholders in the tourism industry have been engaged in close collaboration to implement precautionary measures since Maldives reopened its borders amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Maldives suspended on-arrival visa and closed its borders on March 27, but reopened nearly four months later on July 15, under “new normal” guidelines.

Following the reopening, tourism industry faced challenges in accommodating departing tourists who require negative PCR test results for their outbound flights or onward destinations.

NMAB said that following a circular issued by Tourism Ministry regarding PCR tests for departing tourists, the association proposed establishing a PCR sampling station in Hulhumale’ to the Tourism Ministry and Housing Development Corporation (HDC) for tourists departing from safari vessels.

The station, located in the Hulhumale’ jetty area, was established with the support of Tourism Ministry, HDC, Health Protection Agency (HPA) and Maldives Police Service on Monday.

The work to set up the station took five days, said NBAM.

NBAM has instructed safari vessel operators to share details of tourists who require PCR tests via email to [email protected] or via phone to +960 7970033.

Safari vessel operators have been advised to ensure samples are taken well in advance so that the results are available in time for boarding.

Records released by Maldives Immigration show 1,769 tourists visited in Maldives in July.