Current situation does not call for borders to be closed, says minister

Tourism Minister, Dr. Abdulla Mausoom has stated that the government is not considering shutting down the country’s borders in response to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases recorded in the Maldives.

The Maldives registered a record number of positive cases of Monday. While 215 cases were registered over the past 24 hours, 152 cases were identified in the Greater Male’ Region.

As the number of positive cases have been increasing steadily over the past few weeks, some sources have reported that the government is considering shutting down the country’s borders once again.

Responding to the rumors, the Tourism Minister said the government does not intend to close the borders and has not considered closing the borders. The situation in Maldives does not call for the borders to be closed, said the minister.

The minister said the number of positive cases can be brought down if the Health Protection Agency (HPA), the medical sector and the country’s citizens work together. While the country’s vaccination drive has commenced, and front line workers are receiving the vaccine, bright days are ahead for the Maldives, said the minister.

“The number of cases being recorded in the atolls can be brought down with God’s will - the Maldives is geographically situated in a unique way, and this helps to control the spread of the disease in the archipelago. I am hopeful that the situation can be controlled within a week’s time,” said Dr. Mausoom.

Dr. Mausoom further noted that the number of positive cases identified among tourists visiting the Maldives is very less. The positive rate among tourists who visited the Maldives in December was 0.007 percent, which is seven positive cases out of every 1,000 tourists ,said the minister. During January, approximately eight positive cases were identified among every 1,000 tourists, said the minister.

The minister added that countries such as the United Kingdom, from which a large number of tourists visit the Maldives, have commenced its vaccine rollout. Therefore, the government is hopeful that the Maldives’ tourism sector will flourish as a result of vaccinations.

The Maldives closed its borders earlier in March 2020 and reopened the borders four months later in July. Over 555,000 tourists visited the Maldives last year in the period that followed border reopening. According to statistics, 92,103 tourists visited the Maldives last month.