The government of Maldives has been preparing for the ‘new normal’ phase with discussions in place to ease the lockdown and situation of Maldives after 28th May 2020. Maldives has been under a full lockdown for over a month now.
Addressing the nation on 20th May 2020, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih revealed the government’s plans for gradually easing the restrictive measures. He stated that the decisions will be taken in consultation with health authorities and will be phased, starting with the resumption of operations in businesses. The President also said that the country could open its borders as early as July. However, he stressed that the people should continue maintaining social distancing measures and strictly adhere to the advice of the healthcare professionals.
Maldives has seen a total of 1313 cases of COVID-19 since the outbreak, with 128 individuals having recovered, the country has recorded 04 deaths from the virus. The government has been conducting random sampling for weeks now. However, the testing capacity was not sufficient as the testing has been carried out at the state-run Indra Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) and the police forensic laboratory.
Privately-run ADK Hospital added a PCR machine which can test up to 500 samples a day. With this, the testing capacity will significantly increase and at least 1000 samples can be tested per day. In addition to that, testing machines are also being acquired for privately-run Tree Top Hospital, which is currently being used as the main COVID-19 treatment facility.
Despite the greater Male’ area being under lockdown, the government has eased restrictions on islands which are not affected by COVID-19. Resuming public prayers at mosques on those islands, the government is gradually easing the restrictions depending on the advice from the health authorities.
Having closed its borders in March, tourism operations in Maldives has been paused for almost two months. With the economy of the island nation almost entirely depending on the revenue from the tourism sector, staying locked down for a long period of time will cause irrecoverable damage to the country’s economy.
To ensure that the market demand does not diminish during the time, a number of measures are being taken to keep engaged with the potential travellers. Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation (MMPRC) has been introducing several promotional activities in order to give hope that the future will be brighter and that travellers can once again explore the island nation. This includes several webinars held for potential markets. Furthermore, on 08th June 2020, MMPRC will host a live Facebook event that will take the viewers on a journey around the beautiful islands of Maldives.
Restoring faith into resuming travel operations, the Ministry of Tourism recently drafted a ‘Safe Tourism Guideline’ in preparation for restarting tourism. The draft guideline covers all aspects of travel in and around Maldives to assure guests with the security and confidence in travelling as well as to ensure the safety of the staff members. This will be a light of hope to the situation in Maldives right now.