Maldives imposes travel ban on work permit holders from South Asia

Undocumented migrant workers stand in line to get vaccinated against COVID-19. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Maldives has tightened restrictions on travelers from South Asia, banning work permit holders from the region from entering the country.

The restrictions were announced in an order signed by Director General of Public Health Maimoona Aboobakr released by Health Protection Agency (HPA) on Saturday afternoon.

According to the order, the new restrictions will take effect on Sunday, May 9, and will remain in place unless stated otherwise.

In addition to banning work permit holders from South Asia from entering Maldives, tourists from South Asia are banned from traveling to residential islands.

The decision comes amid a surge in COVID-19 cases from countries such as India and Nepal, and follows a ban on Indian tourists from guesthouses and hotels in residential islands ordered last April.

Maldives has been experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, both in the capital and in residential islands outside the capital, prompting authorities to strengthen restrictions.

A curfew is in effect in the greater Male’ region from 09:00 pm to 04:00 am, and the mandatory quarantine period, except for travelers from Male’ to other islands and for inbound tourists, has been increased from 10 to 14 days.

Schools, colleges and universities have been closed for face-to-face classes, government offices and private offices have been ordered to have employees work from home, and gyms, salons, sports arenas and parks have been closed, and sporting events have been banned.

Curfews, along with additional restrictions, are also in effect in seven more residential islands and cities; Fuvahmulah City, Addu City, Lh. Naifaru, B. Eydhafushi, K. Maafushi, AA. Mathiveri, and AA. Rasdhoo.

Maldives has 34,134 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 766 new cases on Friday. 25,782 people have since recovered, while 83 have died from complications.