The Maafaru coronavirus testing laboratory in Noonu atoll, a joint venture between the Soneva Foundation and Velaa Private Resort, is now offering up to 100 complimentary COVID-19 tests for Maldivians every day.
The lab — which recently re-opened after an upgrade to increase testing capacity — has also reduced the cost of a test for everyone else to USD40, from the previous rate of USD55.
Consistent improvements in efficiency at the lab have brought the cost of a test down from USD100 last July, to the USD40 rate announced today. This rate is the lowest being charged by any laboratory in the country.
The intention of the Maafaru laboratory has always been to be of service to the local community, and has provided tests to resorts and local islands in Baa, Raa, Lhaviyani and Noonu atolls. To date, no dividend has been derived from the laboratory, and any surplus revenue generated will be split between Velaa resort and the Soneva Foundation, a UK registered non-profit.
The Soneva Foundation invests in community projects in the Maldives, such as Namoona Baa, a community-led initiative to eliminate single use plastics, tackle the waste problem in local islands, and end the open burning of garbage.
The Maafaru lab is also offering complimentary training to nurses at resorts, to teach them how to take coronavirus samples and submit them to the lab.
Soneva is a strong believer in rigorous testing of both resort hosts and guests, in order to ensure that any COVID-19 cases are quickly identified and carriers are quarantined, thus preventing community spread in resorts and reducing the number of overall cases in the Maldives.
It is the lab’s intention to find ways to further lower the cost charged per test, thus encouraging more extensive testing in resorts.