Omicron: Hong Kong bans travel to and from the Maldives

Hong Kong has restricted travel to and from the Maldives after the archipelago confirmed its first case of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.

As a precautionary measure against the new variant, Hong Kong on Monday banned travel to and from Tunisia and Senegal, in addition to the Maldives.

The Maldives confirmed its first Omicron case on Sunday. According to the Health Protection Agency (HPA), the case was confirmed through genome sequencing from a sample of a tourist that arrived in the Maldives. The agency did not disclose the nationality of the tourist. HPA said it would provide further details at a later time.

HPA has said over 50 samples are sent for genome sequencing every day to identify the variants of the COVID-19 virus circulating in the Maldives.

The Maldives last week banned travelers from seven southern african countries after the new variant was first identified in South Africa. In this regard, visitors from South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Eswatini will not be allowed to enter the country, as well as travelers who visited these seven countries within 14 days before arrival in the Maldives. Additionally, those who transited in the countries for over twelve countries will not be allowed entry.

However, the ban excludes locals and work permit holders. Upon arrival, they are expected to complete a 14-day quarantine and undergo a PCR test at the end of quarantine before being released.