NewsOctober 15, 2020

Local Island Tourism in Maldives is Back with Reopening of Guesthouses!

Today, guesthouses in the Maldives will be reopening in islands apart from the Capital Male City area. According to the Tourism Ministry, so far 22 guesthouses have been permitted to resume operations in 6 islands.

The islands in which guesthouses have commenced operations today include Maafushi and Huraa in Kaafu Atoll, V. Thinadhoo, AA Mathiveri, N. Fohdhoo and Thaa Gaadhiffushi.

While Maldives is most popular for its luxurious facilities, the island of Maafushi is well-known for budget vacations and luxury holidays. The island, featuring charming blue lagoons and sandy beaches along with the chic accommodation facilities, is just 35 minutes by speedboat or 1.5 hours by ferry from Male.

Huraa is well known in the Maldivian history as the last royal dynasty to rule over Maldives has its root in Huraa island. It was founded in 1757 by Sultan al-Ghazi Hasan ‘Izz ud-din. A mangrove swamp is located to the north of the island, declared a protected nature reserve. Its environment with its unique vegetation provides a safe resting place for species of protected birds.

Despite its rather small size, Thinadhoo features one of the best bikini beaches on Maldives. Like Thinadhoo, Mathiveri is also an extremely stunning island to explore the underwater beauty of Maldives.

Before you start planning, here’s everything you, as a traveler, need to know about guesthouses reopening.

Before Arriving

All tourists who plan to stay in tourist guest houses must hold a negative result for a nucleic acid test (PCR test) for COVID-19 prior to entry into the country. The sample for this test must be taken not more than 96 hours prior to the scheduled time of departure from the first port of embarkation en route to Maldives.

While at the island

Wearing masks will be mandatory in public places for locals as well as tourists at all tourist guest house islands. Existing HPA guidelines on wearing of masks should be followed.

You are recommended to use the contact tracing app “TraceEkee” to facilitate contact tracing. Persons placed under quarantine/isolation must register in “haalubelun” portal. Although tourists are not allowed to enter residential houses, they are allowed to use public cafes and restaurants. Cafes and restaurants must follow the infection prevention measures described in the relevant HPA guidelines.

Further, tourists are allowed to use shopping facilities on the island. Shops must follow the infection prevention measures described in the relevant HPA guidelines.

Travelling between islands

Tourists are not allowed to travel from a tourist guest house island to a non-tourist guest house island. However, they are allowed to travel between two tourist guest houses islands and between a resort and a tourist guest house island if the resort or tourist guest house island is not placed under monitoring by HPA. (i.e. no travel restrictions placed by HPA on the resort or tourist guest house island). Tourists are not allowed to travel between a safari and a tourist guest house island.

Tourists must undergo an exit screening prior to travel from a tourist guest house island to a resort or to another tourist guest house island. This is to ensure that a symptomatic person or a person in quarantine does not exit the island. The exit screening should ask for any history of fever or respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat, running nose or shortness of breath. It should be ensured that the guest is not under quarantine or isolation. The temperature should be checked to exclude fever. Any tourist who has a fever or respiratory symptoms or who is in quarantine should not be allowed to travel and will require testing for COVID-19.

What if you develop symptoms?

If a tourist or staff of a tourist guest house develops any symptoms of acute respiratory illness, such as fever, cough, sore throat, running nose or shortness of breath, they should immediately wear a mask and they should be isolated until medical consultation and testing is done and results obtained. If the tourist is sharing the room with others, they must be isolated separately at the designated isolation room at the guest house. Close contacts of the tourist must wear mask and quarantine themselves in their room.

Medical consultation and COVID-19 PCR sampling must be done for all symptomatic persons at the flu clinic of the island. The symptomatic person should wear a mask when attending the flu clinic. If the results are negative, the tourist can be released from isolation.

In case of a positive COVID19 result

If the symptomatic tourist gets positive for COVID-19, the result will be informed by HPA to the patient and the island task force focal point. Contact tracing of the positive case must be done by the COVID-19 task force of the island. All close contacts must undergo PCR testing. Close contacts identified among staff and tourists must be quarantined in the designated quarantine facility of the island.

The COVID-19 task force of the island should daily check on the condition of quarantined persons. The medical officer at the health centre will review the positive patient and discuss the case with clinical management advisory team (CMAT) to triage the patient to the appropriate level of care. If mild disease, age less than 60 years and no adverse comorbid conditions, the positive tourist or tourist guest house staff, must be isolated at the designated place for isolation in the island.

Read the full guideline here.