The Maldives now requires negative COVID-19 test for entry
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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, which, after much deliberation, remains off-limits to Americans. Few countries have endured policy shifts as drastic as those of The Maldives, though.
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 minimize 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.
A few weeks later, the country threw its original proposal out the door, opting instead to open the border entirely on July 15, 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.
Related: TPG guide to The Maldives
Fortunately, tests are now required — as of Sept. 10, 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.
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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