HPA revokes quarantine for vaccinated travelers from South Asia

Tourists at Velana International Airport on July 19, 2021. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Health Protection Agency (HPA) on Wednesday amended its guidelines to allow vaccinated travelers from South Asian countries into Maldives without quarantining.

After evaluating the COVID-19 situation in South Asia, HPA had decided to ban travelers from the region previously.  

Unvaccinated work permit holders from the region still need to quarantine, however, unlike before, the state would not provide accommodations for this. Instead, local agents must arrange quarantine accommodations and inform the authority at least one day prior to the arrival.

Additionally, those quarantining will only be released with a negative PCR test which will be done after completing 14 days of quarantine. 

These amendments come at a time when the new COVID-19 variant Omicron has been found in Maldives, with four cases confirmed by December 15.

World Health Organization (WHO) has said that the Omicron, while milder, is more transmissible than other variants, and the effectiveness of vaccines against the variant is low.

However, the findings are preliminary and have not been peer-reviewed — the gold standard in scientific research — but they line up with other early data about Omicron’s behavior, including that it seems to be more easily spread from person to person.