Health Protection Agency (HPA) has announced special circumstances where quarantine may be exempted when travelling from islands where guesthouses that serve international tourists are located.
HPA released a revised standard operating procedure, aimed at preventing COVID-19 transmission in the tourism sector, on Monday evening.
According to the SOP, travel from a tourist guesthouse island, irrespective of presence of COVID-19 in the island, to a non-tourist guesthouse island will require mandatory quarantine followed by PCR testing.
However, quarantine is not mandatory if the travel from a tourist guesthouse island to a non-tourist guesthouse island is made to access essential services such as medical consultations, provided that certain conditions are observed.
CONDITIONS FOR QUARANTINE EXEMPTION UNDER SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:
Meanwhile, travel between a tourist guesthouse island and another tourist guesthouse island does not require quarantine.
Locals and expatriates who travel from greater Male’ area to a tourist guesthouse island are not allowed to stay at tourist guesthouses.
While locals or expatriate workers may stay at a tourist guesthouse if they travel outside the greater Male’ region, they are not allowed to enter local residences in the island.
They will also be required to undergo mandatory home quarantine followed by PCR testing if they subsequently travel to any other island to stay among the local population after staying at a tourist guesthouse, irrespective of presence of active cases of COVID-19 on the tourist guesthouse island.
INTER-ISLAND TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS FOR TOURISTS
Tourists are not allowed to travel from a tourist guesthouse island to a non-tourist guesthouse island, but may travel between two tourist guesthouse islands, and between a resort and a tourist guesthouse island, if the resort or tourist guesthouse island is not placed under monitoring by HPA.
However, they are not allowed to travel between a safari vessel and a tourist guesthouse island.
Tourists are required to undergo an exit screening prior to travel from a tourist guesthouse island to a resort or to another tourist guesthouse island.
Any tourist who has fever or respiratory symptoms or who is in quarantine will not be allowed to travel and will require testing for COVID-19.
Tourist guesthouse islands are required to have quarantine and isolation rooms, based on total number of tourist beds. As such, islands with more than 500 tourist beds are required to have minimum 15 rooms allocated for quarantine and isolation, islands with 100 to 500 tourist beds are required to have minimum eight rooms allocated for quarantine and isolation, and islands with less than 100 tourist beds are required to have minimum five rooms allocated for quarantine and isolation.
Additional rooms must be arranged by guesthouses and local councils where necessary.
Tourists at guesthouses will be allowed to visit all public locations in the island, but will not be allowed to visit local residences.
Once guesthouses become operational, both residents and tourists will be required to wear masks when in public, and shops and restaurants will be required to follow HPA’s guidelines when providing services.
Guesthouses in residential islands outside greater Male’ area are scheduled to reopen starting October 15. Guesthouses in greater Male’ will not be allowed to reopen unless the infection rate is maintained below five percent for at least 28 days.