Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Maldives impose 1700-2000 curfew in Male from April 2. International travel restrictions, including visa-on-arrival suspensions, continue.

This alert affects Maldives

This alert began 02 Apr 2020 22:18 GMT and is scheduled to expire 16 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Maldives (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport, travel, and business disruptions

Summary
Maldivian authorities have introduced additional measures to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). From April 2, authorities have imposed a daily 1700-2000 curfew in the capital city Male and adjacent areas. Residents must remain indoors and public transport will not operate during the curfew hours. Public gatherings of more than three people are banned at all times. Police have deployed to enforce the measures; violators may be detained or fined.

Authorities have advised all residents to stay at home whenever possible and comply with social distancing standards when going out to attend to essential tasks. Officials have also advised nonessential public and private entities to utilize telecommuting facilities. Officials are also extending the ongoing closure of nonessential government offices and educational institutions through at least April 5. Earlier measures, such as a ban on public gatherings and the closure of recreation facilities, tourist sites, and excursions, will continue. As of April 2, the government has refrained from widespread business closures and assured there would be an adequate supply of essential goods such as fuel, food, and medicines. Additional restrictions on transport and business operations are possible if in-country COVID-19 cases rise.

International Travel Restrictions

Authorities have suspended visa-on-arrival issuance for all foreigners at all ports of entry from March 27. The suspension has effectively banned most inbound travel by nonresident foreign nationals. Explicit travel bans remain in place for foreign nationals with recent travel history in China, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Iran, Italy, France, Germany, the UK, along with Gyeongbuk, Daeugu, and Busan in South Korea. Foreign nationals planning on essential travel to Maldives have been advised to contact the nearest Maldivian diplomatic facility for visa issuance after medical checks. Officials have advised Maldivian nationals to suspend all nonessential international travel. Maldivian citizens arriving from some countries, including the US, are quarantined at a designated facility for 14 days; those returning from other foreign countries will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Foreign tourists already in the county cannot check into hotels or guesthouses across 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. International maritime passenger transport has been banned. Travel restrictions and low demand have affected multiple international and domestic flights. Further flight disruptions are highly likely as the demand for international and domestic travel decreases sharply.

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.

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. Ensure access to essential items at least through March 31, plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

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.

Resources
Maldives Immigration Authority Twitter: www.twitter.com/ImmigrationMV

World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int