PCR test no longer required when traveling from Male’ to islands

People seen standing in long lines for hours, some with small children to get PCR-test done from the Social Center, the only location in Male that currently provide free testing. (Sun Photo / Mohamed Hayyan)

Health Protection Agency (HPA) has revoked the regulation which mandated PCR testing prior to traveling from Male’ area to islands.

In an announcement made today, HPA said that they have decided to bring changes to guidelines stipulated in two announcements made on January 9.

The changes being brought include discontinuation of the mandatory 72 hour PCR test when traveling from Male’ area to islands.

HPA is also revoking the limits set on the number of people that can gather in one place, and attend events and ceremonies in Male’ area. In addition to this, the ban on spectators at sports events have also been revoked.

Despite these easements, HPA said that such activities must be held in adherence to the recommended guidelines against COVID-19 publicized by the agency.

HPA mandated PCR testing when traveling from Male’ area to islands on January 9, at a time where a large number of people who were visiting Male’ for school holidays were gearing up to go back to their islands.

Subsequently, queues at PCR testing centres experienced an overload, with many having to remain in queue for over hours to get their tests done.

Although Maldives experienced a significant surge in the number of COVID-19 infections in light of the more contagious, Omicron variant, the number of daily cases have slowly begun to decrease.

HPA has attributed the decreased numbers of COVID-19 testing in the Maldives – leading to lesser cases – to individuals who do not need to travel getting tests done using rapid antigen kits