A travel ban on tourists from seven southern African countries was lifted on Sunday (26 December).

Entry was restricted to travellers from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Eswatini on 28 November after the discovery of the highly contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus. The ban also applied to tourists who transited in those countries for more than 12 hours.

More than 27,000 tourists from African countries have visited the Maldives so far this year, a 52 percent increase from pre-pandemic levels.

All tourists are allowed entry to the Maldives with a negative PCR test result from a sample taken at most 96 hours prior to departure.

In response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant across the globe, the Maldives health authorities have reintroduced quarantine requirements upon return from overseas travel. But tourists will continue to be exempt.

With effect on 26 December, partially vaccinated or unvaccinated Maldivian citizens and diplomatic or work visa holders will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Vaccinated Maldivians and expatriates will be required to undergo a PCR test between the 5th and 7th day from the date of arrival.

“A person is considered fully vaccinated when at least two weeks has passed since the final dose of the prescribed number of doses of a WHO EUL or Maldives Food and Drug Authority approved COVID-19 vaccine has been administered,” according to Maldives Immigration.

Photo from Maldives Immigration