South Asian work permit holders to be allowed conditional entry to Maldives

Tourists at Velana International Airport on March 29, 2021. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Maldives has decided to ease travel restrictions imposed on South Asian travelers, allowing work permit holders from the region to travel to the country under special guidelines.

The decision was announced by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in a press conference on Tuesday.

President Solih said that special guidelines to allow for South Asian work permit holders to enter Maldives will be released in the beginning on July.

He added that they will be subject to mandatory quarantine.

Maldives imposed the ban on South Asian work permit holders on May 9, following a surge in COVID-19 cases in the region, fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant first discovered in India.

Restrictions were further tightened with the decision to suspend issuance of on-arrival visa to South Asian travelers on May 13.

At Tuesday’s press conference, President Solih said that authorities plan on reopening Maldives’ borders for South Asian tourists on July 15.

He said that authorities will review the COVID-19 situation in South Asian region within the next one week, and the that the decision depends on the result of the review.

Maldives experienced an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases last May, and recorded the highest number of COVID-19 fatalities in a single month, with 88 deaths.

27 percent of samples sent overseas for sequencing last May were positive for the Delta variant.