Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Curfew shortened in Male, Maldives as of July 3, amid easing domestic COVID-19 controls. International travel to resume from July 15.

  • Alert Begins: 03 Jul 2020 07:52 AM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 15 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Entry restrictions, transport and business disruptions, quarantine measures

Authorities in the Maldives will impose a shortened daily curfew 2300-0500 in the capital, Male, amid easing domestic coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions as of July 3. Up to 30 people can gather for nonessential activities, instead of the earlier limit of 10 participants. Most educational institutions, public sites, places of worship, and business establishments, including dine-in eateries, are operational since July 1. Government offices and many businesses are operating with limited hours as a precaution; however, authorities continue to encourage nonessential public and private entities to utilize telecommuting facilities. Facilities are required to ensure sanitation and social distancing. Individuals must wear masks in public areas. Domestic flights and inter-island ferry services have also resumed operations, though availability is affected by low demand.

Travel Restrictions
As of July 3, authorities continue to suspend visa-on-arrival issuance for all foreigners at all ports of entry, effectively banning most inbound travel by nonresident foreign nationals. Diplomats, officials of international organizations, and business travelers, such as resort owners and investors, are exempt. Arrivals must undergo quarantine for 14 days; passengers can undergo quarantine at designated facilities or their homes. 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. 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. Authorities have advised Maldivian citizens to suspend all nonessential international travel.

Authorities plan to reopen the country to inbound international travel from July 15; while resorts on islands will open to foreigners, guesthouses and hotels in the Greater Male urban area will only accommodate transit passengers. Officials have said quarantine periods and mandatory testing will not be necessary for asymptomatic travelers from July 15. However, regulations may vary based on a passenger's nationality and travel history, and authorities could rescind, delay, or alter planned resumptions of international travel at short notice.

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.

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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