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2020 has been a rough year for us all, to say the least. Covid-19 has disrupted our lives and scuppered our travel plans. The list of countries allowing US citizens to enter right now is very small indeed – we’re effectively banned from most of Europe. However, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel: the Maldives is open for business! This Maldives Covid travel guide is here to help you make informed choices about traveling during the coronavirus pandemic. I’m heading there myself in November and you’d better believe I’m taking it seriously.
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Not only is it easily one of the best luxury travel destinations in the world, the Maldives is a really safe place to go post-Covid. Unlike most of the world, there are no restrictions and no quarantine.
At the time of writing this article the number of Covid-related deaths in the Maldives stands at a relatively low 44. The country is made up of 1,200 islands which naturally helps to contain the spread of the virus. It’s the perfect choice for a socially-distanced retreat, as long as you’re sensible and respectful.
I have a trip to the Maldives planned for November. Of course I’m excited, but this isn’t going to be your average vacation. I’ve done a lot of research into the situation and safety measures so that I can enjoy my time there in a safe, responsible and, of course, luxurious way.
Let’s take a look at the Maldives Covid situation and what they’re doing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus so that you can socially distance in style.
The first confirmed Covid case in the Maldives was announced on 7 March 2020. The government was quick to put lockdown measures in place, which lasted for three months. This was a blow to the tourism industry but kept the virus under control relatively well.
On 15 July, the Ministry of Tourism launched a “safe tourism” program and reopened borders. Hotels and resorts were permitted to reopen on the condition that they adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Side note: the government did originally declare tourists would have to pay for a visa and a Covid-19 test, and stay for at least 14 nights. These plans have since been scrapped, so don’t worry.
US citizens don’t need a visa to enter the Maldives. However, travelers do have to meet the following requirements:
If you’re showing symptoms on arrival, you’ll be tested and charged around $100. If local authorities select you for random testing, there’s no fee.
You’re also able to request a Covid test before you leave the Maldives, in case you need one to travel onwards or return home.
The main airlines that currently fly from the US to the Maldives are:
All of these airlines have strict safety measures and hygiene standards in place. Here’s what I’ll be doing to make sure I fly safely:
I’m going to be staying at two amazing luxury resorts in the Maldives. Safety is my top priority (and hopefully theirs, too.) Here’s what the Soneva Fushi and the Pullman resorts are doing to protect their guests from Covid-19.
When I first arrive in the Maldives I’ll be staying at Soneva Fushi, the ultimate eco-conscious luxury resort. It’s a Robinson Crusoe-style castaway experience – only about a million times more glamorous.
The Maldives “One Island, One Resort” layout means that you won’t be coming into contact with the general public during your stay. Soneva Fushi are also following the best practices according to the local government, the US Centre for Disease Control and leading experts from around the world.
Upon arrival, your airport, lounge and transfer hosts will all be wearing masks and gloves. Staff thoroughly sanitize all transfer vehicles and your luggage, too. You also have to wear a mask until you reach your villa.
You’ll receive a Covid test as soon as you land in the Soneva private airport lounge. You then have to isolate inside your villa until the results come through, which should take around 24-30 hours. Soneva Fushi are offering credit vouchers as recompense for the lost time, so I’m receiving a free night’s stay. And don’t worry, you won’t starve during your isolation period – room service is available, but with strict safety measures in place.
With any luck, your test results will come back negative and from then on, you’re free to enjoy your vacation as normal. All of Soneva Fushi’s facilities and restaurants are open but with extra protection measures in place. For example, the buffet is no longer self-service and you can request that your spa therapist wears a mask and gloves. Staff at the resort are tested for Covid every five days.
You have to take another Covid test five days after your arrival, but this time you won’t need to isolate. Each morning, a host will come to your villa and take your temperature as an extra precaution.
If you test positive for Covid you and your party will have to isolate in your villas for a minimum of 14 days. Room service will be available to you and you’ll be monitored by the resort’s well-trained medical team. You’ll have full use of your private gardens and beach during the quarantine period.
If you require hospital treatment there’s an intensive care unit on the neighboring island of Eydhafushi. In extreme cases, Soneva Fushi can organize emergency repatriation via private jet.
Soneva Fushi has its own resort nurse. If you feel at all unwell during your time at the resort, ask your host to make an appointment.
I feel like I’ll be in good hands at the Soneva Fushi – and probably safer from Covid than I am at home right now. I’ll be reporting back on my stay after my trip, so stay tuned…
The Pullman is a new, all-inclusive Maldives resort that opened in September 2019. From shark-spotting to fitness bootcamps, there’s something for everyone here. It also boasts two underwater rooms where you can watch sharks swim past your window each morning.
The resort will begin welcoming guests again on the 1st October 2020. Thus far, they haven’t announced the details of their Covid protection plan but I’ll be staying there so you can rest assured that I’ll be updating this blog post as soon as I know more, and again after my stay.
I’ve traveled to The Maldives before but my packing list is going to look a little different this time. These are my essential Maldives Covid Travel items:
There’s science to support that wearing face masks can help stop the spread of Covid, so be sure to pack plenty.
It’s kind of a shame that it took a global pandemic to make us realize that we should be sanitizing our hands regularly, but there you go. Choose a product that smells good and has moisturizing properties to prevent dry, flaky skin.
No-one likes having chapped hands but sadly they’re often a by-product of hand-sanitizer. Worse still, once your skin is damaged, the alcohol makes them super sore. Pack an ultra-moisturizing hand cream and reapply regularly to help keep your hands happy.
I feel pretty confident about my trip to the Maldives but if the pandemic has taught me anything, it’s to expect the unexpected.
I’ll be checking these resources regularly and if you’re thinking of heading to the Maldives, I recommend that you do the same.
All in all, I’m excited for my luxury Maldives escape. After my trip, I’ll be updating this blog post and revealing all about my experiences, so be sure to keep checking in.
(And in the meantime, why not check out my ultimate guide to luxury hotels in the Maldives?)
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