MALDIVES COVID-19 UPDATE & FLEXIBLE BOOKING

The one island, one resort concept of the Maldives makes it one of the most naturally safe environments to spend a holiday during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Physical distancing between guests isn’t difficult as most facilities are in large open spaces and accommodation is well spaced. Resorts have implemented enhanced cleaning and safety measures to ensure risks are minimised and the vast majority of COVID cases in the Maldives have been in the capital island of Male which is not generally visited by tourists. With greater travel flexibility being offered and some fantastic discounts, a holiday to the Maldives is a very appealing option right now for those desperate for some sun, relaxation and underwater adventure.  

Below we have tried to outline the current situation and answer some of the frequently asked questions.

Updated 27 August 2021

UK Travel Advice & Restrictions

Please always check the following website for current Maldives travel advice:  https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/maldives

Update Following the English Government announcement Friday 7th May 2021:
To protect the UK, the government has introduced a new ‘traffic light system’ for travellers. The rules that you will need to follow will depend on what category the country you have visited is placed in. Importantly, this applies to any countries that you have transited through as well. The categorisation of countries on the traffic light system will be reviewed by the UK government every 3 weeks. You can find the latest information at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/red-amber-and-green-list-rules-for-entering-england

GREEN: Countries on the green list pose the lowest risk. Before you travel to England you must take a pre-departure COVID-19 test in the 3 days before returning to England. You must also book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test to be taken after arrival in England. Regardless of your vaccine status, you do not need to quarantine unless the test result is positive.

AMBER: You’ll need to take a pre-departure test in the 3 days before returning to England, book and pay for COVID-19 tests to be taken after arrival in England. If you are fully vaccinated, you must take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 (arrival day is day 0). If you are not fully vaccinated, you must quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for a period of 10 days on your arrival back into England, and also take a COVID-19 test on day 2 and day 8 - with the option for Test to Release on day 5 to end self-isolation early. India, United Arab Emirates and Qatar are currently on the amber list.

RED: You’ll be subject to the restrictions currently in place for ‘red list’ countries; which include pre-departure testing before returning to England, a 10-day stay in a government approved quarantine facility on your arrival back into England, and also COVID-19 testing on day two and day eight. The Maldives, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Oman are currently on the red list.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO):
FCDO travel advice continues to advise against all non-essential travel to some countries and territories. Many other countries have rules in place about who can enter and what you can do when you are there. These rules are not related to which colour list that country is on. Before you travel, you should read:

Testing for return to England: It is a legal requirement to have a COVID-19 test in the 3 days before you start your journey to England. From 4am on 18 January 2021, if you do not present proof of a negative Coronavirus (COVID-19) test result, you may not be able to board to travel to England, and could be fined £500 on arrival into England.
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-for-people-travelling-to-england#take-a-coronavirus-test-before-you-travel-to-england

Passenger Locator Form: You must complete a passenger locator form online before you arrive in the UK. You can submit the form any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in the UK. You’ll need to show your form when you check in to travel or board your plane. You’ll need to book any tests you need to take before you complete the passenger locator form. See here for more details: https://www.gov.uk/provide-journey-contact-details-before-travel-uk 

Flexible Booking Policy

We understand that things remain uncertain with rules and restrictions changing frequently, often at the last minute. This makes planning travel very difficult both for you and us! Most resorts and airlines are offering much greater flexibility to allow cancellation or postponement if you cannot travel due to COVID related restrictions. Our policy is as follows:

  • At the time that your final balance is due, if you do not feel comfortable about travelling or your holiday is affected by restrictions, we are offering the option of postponing your trip to any future date. We will not charge an amendment fee and your deposit will be applied to the postponed booking.
  • Closer to departure date, if the country is on the red list, we can offer postponement to a future date or free of charge cancellation.
    Please note: in the event that flight tickets have been issued and the airline do not provide us with a refund, a credit will be offered by the airline towards a future booking. Most airlines are offering a refund where travel is not possible due to COVID-19 related restrictions, however British Airways, Virgin and SriLankan Airlines current policies will only permit a refund if they themselves cancel the flight.

Is the Maldives Open to Tourists?
      • The border and Velana Male International Airport have been open since 15 July 2020.
      • Domestic airports and seaplane operators have all resumed operation from 01 July 2020.
      • Cruise ships, safari boats, yachts and other passenger vessels can enter the Maldives from an overseas location since 03 October 2020.

Entry Requirements
      • You must have a confirmed pre-booking and provide emergency contact information.
      • Travellers must have a passport or travel document valid for a minimum of 6 months from date of departure from the Maldives.
      • A visa on arrival will be issued for 30 days at no cost.
      • Effective from 26th July 2021, all inbound travelers are required to present negative PCR test result, with the sample taken 96 hours prior to departure to Maldives. This includes travelers who have also completed the administration of their 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
      • The Maldives online health declaration form must also be completed within the 24 hour period prior to first departure flight to the Maldives and requires your PCR certificate to be uploaded. It is important to take a photo of the QR code which is displayed at the end of the form once completed. You may be denied boarding if you cannot show proof of this QR code. The same form needs to be completed 24 hours before departure from the Maldives.
      • Anyone with a history of contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the past 14 days and/or who has fever or respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat, shortness of breath within the past 14 days should not travel to the Maldives.
      • Whilst not a requirement of entry, travellers are also encouraged to download the contact tracing app “TraceEkee”.
      • There is no need to quarantine when you arrive into the Maldives, providing you are not displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

 

Enhanced COVID-19 Safety Measures
      • On arrival at Male airport there is temperature screening in the arrivals hall, masks must be worn, hand sanitiser used and physical distancing observed.
      • The arrival hall capacity at Male International Airport has been reduced from 1,000 passengers to 570. The departures terminal will also be reduced from 1,200 to 750 passengers.
      • Any arrivals exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will need to take a RT-PCR test at their own cost. Maldives border authorities will take random tests at no charge.
      • The wearing of masks and use of hand sanitiser is compulsory before boarding transfer vessel or aircraft.
      • All resorts, hotels, guesthouses and liveaboards will be required to comply with all relevant Maldives legislation and a specific set of standards when reopening. Full details can be found here.
      • Self-service buffets have been replaced by waiter service and more a la carte style dining.
      • Excursions to local inhabited islands are being withdrawn.
      • Enhanced cleaning of guest rooms.
      • Infrared thermometers available at resort front desks to conduct temperature checks of guests and employees upon request.
      • Regular training of resort staff ensuring proper hand hygiene and awareness of COVID-19.

Questions & Answers

Are all resorts open?
Most resorts are now open. A few have remained open during the entire pandemic whilst others have closed temporarily in order to undertake renovation work.

What happens if Maldives goes from Green to Amber or Red?
As per our flexible booking policy (above), if you have just paid a deposit, we can postpone your holiday and the deposit will be applied to this booking. If you have paid the full amount, we can postpone, provide a credit voucher or refund if flights have not been ticketed and we are within resort free of charge cancellation period.

Can I stay at more than one resort during my holiday in Maldives?
Yes. Guests can now have multi-resort-stays during your Maldives holiday.
Every time you travel from one property to another, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) requires your current resort to submit a travel request form 48 hours prior to departure. Guests will only be allowed to travel between two resorts if both resorts do not have reported, suspected or isolated cases of Covid-19. Due to this uncertainty, we currently recommend that you limit your holiday to a single resort.
Please check with your insurance company if you are covered if your multi-resort stay plans are disrupted.

What will happen if I test positive for COVID-19 in Maldives?
Health Protection Agency (HPA) guidelines must be followed. Isolation at the resort for 14 days is mandatory for anyone testing positive for COVID-19. Contact tracing will identify those who also need to be tested. All close contacts will have to undergo quarantine for 14 days at the resort and will be PCR tested prior to being released from quarantine.
Please check with your insurance company if you are covered for expenses incurred during any potential isolation.

If a positive or suspected COVID-19 case is identified in the resort, will the resort go into ‘lockdown’?
No. The Maldives Health Protection Agency (HPA) do not require resorts to go into ‘lockdown’ in such situations. The resort team will work together with the Health Protection Agency (HPA), following guidelines on isolation, testing and contact tracing for the individual(s) concerned, along with stringent protocols to keep all guests and employees safe.

Can I get a PCR test done at the resort?
Most resorts can arrange for a PCR test to be carried out at the resort. Please be aware that an additional charge may apply - ask us for details.

Which airlines are travelling to the Maldives?
At the current time British Airways (direct flights from London Heathrow on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday), Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airlines are all travelling from the UK to the Maldives. Travelling direct with British Airways has the advantage that you do not risk a transiting country being on the red or amber list which would have quarantine implications on your return.

What if I test positive for Covid-19 within 96 hours of my departure date?
If you test positive within 96 hours of your departure flight whilst completing the PCR test required, we will try to change your flight and hotel to a future date. You will need to pay the airline’s standard change fee (around £200 per person) and we will try our best to move your resort booking to a future date at the same price.

What about travel insurance for the Maldives?
A specialist insurance policy has been developed by MyAllied in association with the Maldives government (for $35 for 6 nights stay or $45 for 7 nights+) which we would recommend if you need insurance to cover any medical expenses when out in the Maldives. Please see here for details:
https://myallied.mv/type/inbound-allied/new.

Will diving, snorkeling and excursions be available?
Snorkeling, diving, watersports and excursions will be available with additional safety measures as laid out by the HPA Guidelines. Not all dive centres are operational at resort properties and we advise you to check with the resort or with us to ensure that dive centres are operational at the island you are planning to visit. Day tours to other islands will not be available until further notice.