Maldives imposes ban on non-essential domestic travel

Director General of Public Health Maimoona Aboobakuru. (Photo/Health Ministry)

Health Protection Agency (HPA) has ordered a ban on non-essential travel between residential Maldivian islands amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

An order signed by Director General of Public Health Maimoona Aboobakr released this Sunday bans travel between residential islands except for Male’, Hulhumale’, Vilimale’, Thilfushi and Gulhifalhu unless for essential purposes and access to healthcare.

Despite the restriction, local councils have been instructed to facilitate travel to supply food and other essentials to the people.

The order takes effect for the one-week period starting Tuesday, May 4.

Despite the new restriction, people can continue to travel from the greater Male’ region to other islands as long as they undergo mandatory 10 days of quarantine in accordance with existing travel guidelines.

Maldives has experienced a surge in COVID-19 infections in recent weeks – both in the capital and in residential islands outside the capital. 402 new cases were recorded on Saturday, following 465 new cases were recorded on Friday – the highest single-day spike the country has recorded to date.

There are 22 residential islands outside of the greater Male' region under quarantine, including the populous Addu City and Kulhudhuffushi City.