Maldives mandates negative PCR results for tourist arrivals

Tourists at Velana International Airport on July 15, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Health Protection Agency (HPA) has made it mandatory for all tourists and short term visitors to present a negative PCR certificate upon arrival to Maldives.

In a tweet on Tuesday, the Tourism Ministry announced that the decision to impose the measure was made to ensure the safety of everyone, and that it will come into effect on September 10.

“For the safety of all, HPA Maldives has made it mandatory, with effect from 10th September, for all tourists and short term visitors to present a Negative PCR certificate on arrival in #Maldives,” announced Tourism Ministry in its tweet.

When Maldives reopened its borders for international travel after a near three-month lockdown on July 15, tourists were not required to produce a negative PCR certificate. Tourists who visit Maldives are issued a 30-day on-arrival visa.

The decision to mandate negative PCR certificates comes after Tourism Minister Dr. Abdulla Mausoom announced that the Tourism Ministry was engaged in discussions with HPA to introduce the measure in Maldives, as many travelers are required to produce such certificates by the international airlines and during border crossing transits.

He said that introducing the measure may serve to boost confidence in health safety standards in Maldives.

“Introducing such a measure will serve to highlight the safety of Maldives,” he said.

Mausoom also said that Maldives cannot afford to reclose its borders.

“We cannot afford to close our international border. We need to find a formula to adjust to this,” he said.

The decision to mandate negative PCR certificates comes with Maldives braced to reopen guesthouses in residential islands for international tourists on October 15. Maldives has also recently introduced ‘split stay’, which will allow tourists to visit multiple resorts during their stay.