With the reopening of Maldives’ border amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, all the key stakeholders of the tourism industry have been working together in implementing precautionary measures. Following the Ministry of Tourism circular on 10th August 2020 regarding PCR tests for departing tourists, National Boating Association of Maldives (NBAM) together with the Ministry of Tourism, Housing Development Corporation Ltd. (HDC), Health Protection Agency (HPA) and Maldives Police Service has established the First PCR Sampling Station in Hulhumale’ for passengers departing from Safari Vessels.
According to the Ministry’s statement, vessels operating or cruising across the country may coordinate with the Atoll or Regional Hospital focal points and make arrangements for sampling. However, safari vessels are required to keep a stock of UTM test kits and make arrangements of sample transportation through atoll collection points or any other means of transportation.
The special testing hut located near Jetty Area in Hulhumale was a proactive initiative proposed by NBAM to the Ministry of Tourism and HDC. The team coordinated well and set up the hut in 5 days to facilitate the departure testing for the industry, with the support of HPA and Maldives Police Service. The first sample from a tourist was collected at the testing booth on 10th August 2020.
The Ministry of Tourism advises all facilities to adhere with the guidelines set forth by all relevant authorities and reminds all facilities to ensure that tourists, who require a negative PCR test result for their outbound flight or onward destination, are not taken to the airport for departure without a negative test result on hand.
Details of the guests to be tested must be shared in advance via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call +960 7970033, in order to pre-book and make the arrangements. Boat operators must also ensure that the samples are taken sufficiently in advance to ensure enough time for tests to be run in time for the departure flights.