Maldives added to UK’s travel red list countries!

UK tourists in Maldives | Photo: Ishara S. KODIKARA

Malé, Maldives – Maldives has been added to United Kingdom’s red list countries due to the rapid increase in Covid-19 cases per day.

The decision to add Maldives, along with Turkey and Nepal to UK’s red list comprised of the now 43 countries was announced by the British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in a press conference last Friday. This will come to effect starting from 04:00 am on Wednesday, May 12.

International travel in England is managed by the Global Travel Taskforce, contingent to a traffic light system. The new rules mean each country or region will be classified as red, amber or green. According to transport secretary Grant Shapps, red list countries are “those which should not be visited except in the most extreme of circumstances”.

The red list countries are mainly located in South America and southern Africa. The list originally consisted of 30 countries, but more regions have been added in an attempt to stop new coronavirus variants entering England. 

  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Bangladesh
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Burundi
  • Cape Verde
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Ecuador
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia
  • French Guiana
  • Guyana
  • India
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Maldives
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Rwanda
  • Seychelles
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Suriname
  • Tanzania
  • Turkey
  • Uruguay
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Venezuela
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Maldives has issued a statement regarding the involvement of UK’s decision to Maldivian travelers. Foreign Ministry stated that the decision means travelers, with the exception British and Irish citizens, who have visited or transited in Maldives within 10 days prior to arrival in the UK will be banned from entrance.

Meanwhile, those with permission to enter UK who have visited or transited in Maldives within 10 days prior to arrival will be required to undergo 10 days and 11 nights of designated hotel quarantine. According to health secretary of UK Matt Hancock, 16 hotels, with a total of 4,600 rooms, have been contracted. Bath Road, which runs parallel to the runway at London Heathrow airport is now called as “Isolation Row”. Travelers will be escorted to their quarantine hotels upon arrival, and will be tested for Covid-19 on the second and eighth day of the quarantine period.

Foreign Ministry has urged travelers to the UK to be mindful of the new restrictions, as fines of up to £10,000 will apply to arrivals who fail to undergo hotel quarantine, while people who misrepresent their travel history on the passenger locator forms face up to 10 years in prison in UK.

The decision to add Maldives to UK’s travel red list comes as Maldives battles its worst surge of Covid-19 cases yet, with the total daily cases above 700, and a steep rise in fatalities.

UK is one of the Maldives’ major tourist source markets. The new restrictions are expected to have a negative impact on tourist arrivals in Maldives, which was showing promising signs of recovery since the borders re-opened after the border shutdown last year.