Health Protection Agency’s (HPA) regulations have been amended to make quarantine mandatory for both locals and foreign work permit holders arriving in the Maldives from seven African countries as a measure against the outbreak of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.
Speaking at a press conference held to brief the public regarding the new variant – Health Emergency Operations Center’s (HEOC) Spokesperson Dr. Fathimath Nazla Rafeeq said that locals and foreign work permit holders arriving from South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Eswatini. On this note, she added that the aforementioned persons will have to undergo a quarantine period of 14 days.
“It has been decided that locals and foreign work permit holders arriving from these countries will have to undergo a quarantine period. After a 14-day quarantine period, they will have to do a Covid test,” she had said.
Authorities, on Saturday, imposed a travel ban for tourists from these seven countries as well.
Dr. Nazla also added that locals and foreign workers who have arrived in the Maldives from these seven countries within the past 14 days should be tested now. In addition to this, if their stay in the Maldives exceeds 14 days, they have to get retested following the 14th day. They are also to get tested if leaving the country earlier than 14 days.
She also stressed that underdoing a quarantine period will not be mandatory for all persons arriving in the Maldives. In this regard, she detailed that the rules which are currently in place will apply for those arriving from countries other than the listed seven countries – that is having to undergo a quarantine period if the person is not fully vaccinated.
Speaking further, Dr. Nazla said that these measures are being taken to delay the arrival of the new variant to the Maldives – adding it is impossible to completely stop it from getting into the country.
Dr. Nazla also said that efforts were underway to assess how the Omicron variant is spreading and its effects. She also said that efforts were underway to identify how effective the vaccines are against the new variant. Highlighting that the World Health Organization (WHO) had classified the variant as a “variant of concern” – she said that Omicron variant was concerning for having been the one that is most mutated.