The Maldives has imposed entry bans on travelers from the Southern African region. The government took the step following the discovery of a new, more dangerous variant of the COVID-19 virus, Omicron, in South Africa.
According to the Health Protection Agency (HPA), travelers from South Africa will not be allowed entry into the Maldives effective from 0000 hrs on Sunday. In this regard, travelers from South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Eswantin will be barred from entering the Maldives. Those who traveled to these countries over the past 14 days and spent a transit of over 12 hours in any of the countries will not be allowed to enter the Maldives. However, this does not include Maldivians and work permit holders. Maldivians and work permit holders will be required to complete a 14-day quarantine upon arrival and will be released only after a negative PCR test result on completion of quarantine.
Those who are currently en-route to the Maldives from these countries will need to undergo an additional PCR test before they are allowed entry. If their stay is longer than 14 days, they will be required to undergo a PCR test on the 14th day.
HPA has ordered relevant authorities to enforce the new regulation.
The Omicron variant, which scientists say has a high number of mutations, was first detected in South Africa last week and has spread rapidly through the province of Gauteng, home to the economic hub Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the new COVID-19 variant to be “of concern”. It has so far been detected in at least four other countries.