NewsNovember 8, 2020

Local Island Tourism is Back in Thulusdhoo with First Guests After Reopening

Local island tourism is back at Thulusdhoo! The island has welcomed the very first guests since the reopening. The Minister of Tourism Dr. Abdulla Mausoom and Canopus Retreat Thulusdhoo owners joined the reopening ceremony held at Thulusdhoo on 7th November 2020.

Over 20 guesthouses in Thulusdhoo worked along with island council, the health center and other institutions to prepare the island for the reopening.

Thulusdhoo island is just 30 minutes from airport and is one of the most popular islands for surfers. The first guests who arrived also were surfers from Israel.

While guesthouses were permitted to reopened from 15th October 2020, Maldives opened borders to all nationalities from 15th July 2020. All visitors are granted a 30-day free on-arrival visa with a confirmed booking for a stay at any registered tourist facility in the country.

Maldives has also extended ‘Split Stay’ for all types of tourist accommodation facilities, allowing tourists to split their stay between resort, hotels, guesthouses and live aboard boats, with prior approval as per split-stay procedure and guideline by the Ministry of Tourism.

While there is no mandatory quarantine or testing on arrival, tourists traveling to Maldives are required to complete an online health declaration form and provide a negative PCR test result taken at least 96 hours prior to their departure.

The negative PCR test result must be attached while completing Traveler Health Declaration form, which has to be submitted online via IMUGA (www.imuga.immigration.gov.mv), by all arriving passengers before arrival (but not exceeding 24 hours before arrival time).

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 2 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 COVID-19 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.