Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Maldives eases some COVID-19 restrictions in the greater Male area as of May 29. Other localized and nationwide measures remain in place.

This alert affects Maldives

This alert began 29 May 2020 10:07 GMT and is scheduled to expire 16 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Entry restrictions, transport and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in the Maldives have eased some restrictions in the greater Male area due to reduced coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity as of May 29; this includes the islands of Male, Hulhumale, and Vilimale. While a curfew remains in effect in the area, three people from each household can now go out to obtain essential supplies for up to three hours twice a week, provided they have obtained police permits. Taxis and goods delivery services can resume operations with precautions in place. Other forms of public and private transport remain suspended, except for essential and emergency purposes. Companies can restart construction work after obtaining official approval. Businesses such as banks, retail shops, supermarkets, and pharmacies can operate. Specialty shops, such as those selling cosmetic and textile products, can obtain orders online and provide delivery services. Dining in at food establishments remains banned through mid-June. Only essential employees can work onsite at government offices, while most private offices are still closed. Movement in and out of Male, Gulhifalhu, Hulhumale, Thilafushi, and Villimale remains banned.

Other nationwide restrictions, including a ban on public gatherings, remain in effect. Domestic passenger flights and inter-island travel remain suspended. Authorities also continue to close tourist sites. Officials have advised residents to stay at home whenever possible and comply with social distancing standards when attending to essential tasks outside. The government has encouraged nonessential public and private entities to utilize telecommuting facilities. The nationwide public health emergency remains in effect through June 29.

Travel Restrictions

Authorities have suspended visa-on-arrival issuance for all foreigners at all ports of entry, effectively banning most inbound travel by nonresident foreign nationals. However, there are exceptions for diplomats, officials of international organizations, and business travelers, such as resort owners and investors. International maritime passenger transport remains banned. An entry ban is still in effect for foreign nationals with recent travel history in Bangladesh, China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and the UK, along with North Gyeongsang Province, Busan, and Daegu in South Korea. Foreign nationals planning on essential travel to the Maldives must contact the nearest Maldivian diplomatic mission for visa issuance after medical checks. Authorities have advised Maldivian nationals to suspend all nonessential international travel. Maldivian citizens arriving from many countries, including the US, will undergo quarantine at designated facilities for 14 days; those returning from other countries will self-isolate for two weeks.

Foreign tourists already in the country cannot check into hotels or guesthouses across the Maldives; they must stay in resorts, where officials may enforce temporary movement and exit restrictions in the event of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases.

Background and Analysis
COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm business appointments, deliveries, and travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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