The Maldives now requires negative COVID-19 test for entry

Sep 9, 2020

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As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year.

Over the past few months, we’ve seen countries all around the world implement a dizzying array of policies when it comes to reopening borders. And, even within each country, entry requirements continue to evolve — in some cases, changing from one week to the next — as I experienced with Iceland. Few countries have endured policy shifts as drastic as those of The Maldives, though.

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At the end of May, Minister of Tourism Ali Waheed outlined The Maldives’ plan for welcoming tourists back. While it would have almost certainly helped minimise the potential for a larger coronavirus outbreak, tourists would have been required to jump through a number of hoops — including mandatory extra fees and a minimum 14-night stay — in order to qualify for a visit.

Related: Maldives may reopen soon with a catch

A few weeks later, the country threw its original proposal out the door, opting instead to open the border entirely on 15 July, with no testing, quarantine or visa requirement.

Personally, I had serious reservations about the open-border policy, and pledged not to visit without a testing requirement.

Fortunately, tests are now required — as of 10 September 2020, all visitors must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure. This new policy applies to all tourists, regardless of origin.

According to Google’s COVID-19 tracker, The Maldives experienced a small jump in cases during the open-border period, but the country has experienced fewer than 9,000 cases overall, compared with almost 6,400,000 in the United States.

Screenshot courtesy of Google.
Screenshot courtesy of Google.

The challenge, of course, is securing a negative test result within 72 hours of departure. Officially, the country requires visitors to present a “certificate,” so a digital test result may not be accepted. As a result, you’ll want to confirm a turnaround of less than 72 hours before you lock in your trip.

Featured photo by Ryan Patterson for The Points Guy.

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