Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in the Maldives extend entry restrictions, domestic control measures through at least May 28. Localized curfews imposed.

This alert affects Maldives

This alert began 18 May 2020 05:39 GMT and is scheduled to expire 31 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Authorities in the Maldives are extending multiple measures to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through at least May 28. Nationwide restrictions, such as a ban on public gatherings and the closure of educational institutions, recreation facilities, public parks, and tourist sites, remain in effect. Leaders have advised residents across the Maldives to stay at home whenever possible and comply with social distancing standards when going out to attend to essential tasks. Authorities have also advised nonessential public and private entities to utilize telecommuting facilities. Domestic passenger flights remain suspended.

Officials are continuing localized curfews in some areas, such as the Geater Male region and Kulhudhuffushi City. Residents must stay at home during the curfew period, while one person per household may apply online for a special movement permit to obtain essential supplies once a week. Police have deployed to enforce the measures and could detain or fine violators. Public and private transport, including ferries, remain suspended, except for essential and emergency services. Inter-island travel is prohibited, other than for stranded citizens. Entry to the Sinamale bridge connecting Male to other islands is limited to 0100-0900 daily through May 28; additional road closures and other restrictions are possible in the coming weeks.

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, officials are permitting special entry for diplomats, officials of international organizations, and business travelers, such as resort owners and investors. International maritime passenger transport remains banned. Officials continue to ban foreign nationals with recent travel history in China, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Iran, Italy, France, Germany, the UK, along with North Gyeongsang Province, Daegu, and Busan 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. Officials have advised Maldivian nationals to suspend all nonessential international travel. Maldivian citizens arriving from many countries, including the US, are quarantined at a designated facility for 14 days; those returning from other foreign countries will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

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
The measures adopted by the Maldives government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. 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.

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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