Health officials in Maldives have delayed the reopening of guesthouses on inhabited islands, as the Indian Ocean archipelago takes cautious steps to revive its tourism-dependent economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Maldives reopened its borders to visitors on July 15.
With the border reopening, resorts and hotels on uninhabited islands as well as liveaboard vessels are now allowed to host tourists (please see a rolling list of resort reopenings here).
Guesthouses and hotels located on inhabited islands were to be allowed to reopen on August 1.
But health minister Abdulla Ameen said Saturday that the reopening of guesthouses has been delayed, with a date to be following the next situational analysis after August 15.
“It’ll most likely be early September,” he said, during a virtual ceremony held to inaugurate coronavirus management centres in three atolls.
Ameen stressed that the delay was a precautionary measure in response to the increasing number of frontline healthcare workers who contract the Covid-19 respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
“We have to be extra careful now. We can’t be in a situation where we can’t treat those contracting the virus because our healthcare workers themselves are sick,” he said.
With the border reopening, 30-day free on-arrival visa is issued to all tourists with a confirmed booking for a stay at any registered tourist facility in the country. The entire holiday has to be booked at a single facility except for transit arrangements.
There is no mandatory quarantine or testing on arrival. Tourists have to complete a health declaration form only.