Health Protection Agency (HPA), on Wednesday, revealed that 140 resort staff tested positive following Maldives’ reopening of borders, welcoming tourist arrivals from July 15 onwards.
Although the Greater Male’ Region – the epicentre of the outbreak – records the majority of active virus cases, COVID-19 cases are currently present in 11 inhabited islands as well as 27 resorts across the archipelago.
Since the border reopened, the Ministry of Tourism noted that over 43,00 tourists arrived in Maldives between July 15 and November 3, from which 122 tourists tested positive as of November 7.
In light of the increasing number of cases observed across tourist establishments, including the recent outbreak in Kandima Resort, Minister of Tourism Dr Abdulla Mausoom announced that random test samplings will be conducted for resort staff throughout the country.
With the reopening of local guesthouse tourism on October 15, imported virus cases are expected to be identified in such tourist islands.
As with numerous countries around the world, in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Maldives closed its air and sea borders to tourist arrivals on March 27, halting the issuance of on-arrival visas.
The restrictions on international travel left Maldives’ heavily tourism reliant economy in an extremely vulnerable state. In mid-April, the World Bank projected that Maldives would be the worst-hit economy in the South Asian region due to the pandemic.
Prior to the initial travel ban, resort workers were considered at most risk of exposure to the virus, as health protocols and travel bans on tourist resorts led to a de facto quarantine with tourists potentially harbouring the virus.
The sentiment holds true today, as a number of infections are caused by imported cases as a result of the government’s decision to kickstart tourism.
Noteworthy is the recent outbreak on Kandima Maldives earlier in November, touted by authorities as the first outbreak of such magnitude at a tourist resort. A total of 60 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 on the island and was only brought to the attention of authorities after a staff member of the resort, aged 60, succumbed to the virus.
The Ministry of Tourism mandates all tourists and short-term visitors to present a negative COVID-19 test conducted within 96 hours prior to their arrival to the country
Currently, Maldives records a total of 12,059 virus cases of which 812 are active cases, in addition to 11,199 recoveries and 41 deaths.
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Source URL: Google News