Traveling to the Maldives during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

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Editor’s Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on February 23.

(CNN) — If you’re planning to travel to the Maldives here’s what you’ll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

The Maldives reopened borders to all travelers from all countries on July 15, 2020.

What’s on offer

This is the couples’ destination to end all others — luxury hotels set on private islands, with rooms cantilevered over the water, just in case a walk to the beach is too much effort.

Who can go

All visitors can travel to the Maldives at present, as long as they have proof of a negative Covid test. Cruise ships are currently banned, however. Thanks to these open doors, the Maldives was one of the rare travel successes of 2020, and it looks like that trend is continuing for 2021.

As of February 22, there are over 140 resorts and over 330 guesthouses open and serving international visitors.

What are the restrictions?

All arrivals other than Maldives citizens must present a certificate of a negative PCR test carried out within the 96 hours prior to departure, clearly showing the name and address of the laboratory, as well as the date of the sample taken.

The result must be attached to the Traveler Health Declaration form which must be submitted online within the 24 hours prior to arrival.

Hotels are open and guesthouses reopened to international visitors October 15. Tourists are allowed to split stays between hotels. However, if you spend more than 48 hours in the Greater Malé area, you must take another PCR test before moving elsewhere.

Due to a small uptick in cases in and around the capital, the The Maldives’ Health Protection Agency (HPA) has imposed curfew from midnight to 4 a.m. in the greater Malé region. Public events and gatherings are also canceled.

Since the discovery of the new UK variant in late December, all travelers arriving from the UK, including transiting passengers, must undergo a 10-day quarantine.

All passengers leaving the airport on arrival will have a health check.

What’s the Covid situation

The Maldives has reported a total of 18,769 coronavirus cases and 60 deaths as of February 23.

The country began its rollout of the AstraZeneca COVISHIELD vaccine on February 1.

What can visitors expect?

The Maldives are selling themselves as a destination offering a “normal” vacation, thanks to the isolation of most hotels and the fact that the vast majority of visitors stay in-resort rather than venture out.

This means that while locals are subject to restrictions, those going to and from the airport are exempt. Split stays between different hotels are allowed, if the hotels meet government requirements. Requests for split stays must be made to the Ministry of Tourism at least 48 hours before travel.

Expect also for your resort to have some rules — especially a temperature check on arrival, and masks to be worn indoors. As most items in shops must be shipped to the Maldives, some things can get pricey — you should bring things like masks and hand sanitizer with you to avoid spending while on the island chain.

Useful links:

Our recent coverage

Wondering what it’s like to visit right now? Read this piece, which details the pandemic vacation experience. If you’re planning your trip, check out our list of the best dining experiences. And meet the Maldives’ “barefoot pilots.” And if a travel bubble is what you want, you’re in luck — the Waldorf Astoria Maldives has just revealed its latest property, a Maldivian private island called Ithaafushi, available for a cool $80,000 a night.

CNN’s Julia Buckley and Lilit Marcus contributed to this report



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