Malé, Maldives – President of People’s National Congress (PNC) Abdul Raheem Abdulla (Adhurey) has said that Maldives is becoming a quarantine facility for Indians.
In a press conference held by the opposition today, Adhurey stated that most cases found in many islands of the Maldives are a result of keeping Indians quarantined here.
Adhurey also stated that Maldives is being used as quarantine facility for Indians before they leave for jobs in other countries, and that the citizens of Maldives are put in this grave danger just for the benefit of people who do not even belong to this country.
Adhurey added that this was very risky and questioned which country Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was the President of. Adhurey further added that L. Gan and L. Fonadhoo are also in monitoring status due to lack of measures taken by the government. While many new Covid-19 cases have been found in many islands recently, a large number of islands are in monitoring status.
Adhurey’s comment on the subject comes while Minister of Tourim, Dr Abdulla Mausoom had said that short stay and long stay transit tourist are a crucial part of the Maldivian tourism market.
Tweeting in regard to an article written by a local online news website about the increasing Indian tourists who come for “Quarantine” packages, Minister stated that while such tourists were curcial that Dubai and Singapore were prime examples of it.
While India was second in the tourist arrival market of Maldives pre-covid, India is currently topping the market in the year 2021 with over 81,000 tourists contributing to 22.5% of the arrival market. In addition to this, India also topped the tourist market for 2020 with a total of 62,960 tourist arrivals recorded from India throughout the year.
Following public’s concern over the matter, Health Protection Agency (HPA) has placed special measures for the people traveling from India to Maldives due to the sudden rapid number of Covid-19 cases in India.
HPA announced that from April 27, 2021 onwards, all individuals traveling from India to Maldives or travelers in transit for over 24 hours in India will have to present a negative PCR test result that was done 96 hours prior to departure to enter the Maldives even if they have fully administered the Covid-19 vaccine.
In addition to this, Indian tourists and other tourists who had transited in India for over 24 hours would not be allowed to stay at local guest houses or city hotels from April 27 onward until further announcements. However, those who already have made bookings will not be restricted within this rule.
Along with this, all the Maldivians citizens and Work Visa holders traveling from India to the Maldives are required to do a PCR test within 24 hours of arrival and also undergo mandatory quarantine for ten days in their place of residency or work even if they are vaccinated. HPA stated that these people can also be released from quarantine after they present a negative PCR test result at the end of quarantine period. This does not include of children below the age of one.
The announcement from HPA and Maldives Immigration comes while the neighboring country, and the second worst Covid-19 affected country, India confirmed a total of further 349,691 cases on Sunday, bringing the total to almost 17 million since the pandemic began. Overcrowded hospitals in the country are struggling to secure enough oxygen, leading to patients being turned away.