Will the Maldives be removed from the red list?

Grant Shapps provides update on the UK travel list

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In May, the Maldives was added to England’s red list for travel, along with Turkey and Nepal. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps explained at the time: “We must make sure the countries we reconnect with are safe.” The Maldives experienced a surge in Covid cases in May, at one point reporting the fastest-growing COVID-19 epidemic in the world.

The Maldives had seen the highest number of infections per million people over the previous seven and 14 days, according to Bloomberg analysis on May 24.

On May 20, the Maldives reported 2,194 Covid cases, sparking concern for the island chain home to just more than half a million people.

The surge in cases prompted stricter lockdown measures to be introduced, to curb the rate of infection.

When cases peaked in May, the Maldives struggled with medical staff shortages.

Mabrook Azeez, the spokesman for the President’s Office, told Reuters at the time: “Especially due to the situation in India, which is traditionally the biggest source country, we are finding it difficult to hire new medical professionals to deal with the increased caseload.”

As a red list country, people in England have not been advised to visit the Maldives for several months.

Anyone who does visit the Maldives at the current time is required to complete a mandatory period of self-isolation at a Government approved hotel.

The cost of self-isolating at an approved hotel comes at personal expense.

Due to the Maldives’ red list status, all holidays booked to the Maldives up to August 15 were cancelled by holiday giant TUI.

What is the COVID-19 situation like in the Maldives?

Since infections surged in May, Covid cases have decreased significantly in the region over the last two months.

On July 26, the Maldives reported 98 new Covid infections.

Swathes of the population have also received at least one Covid vaccine to date.

According to Reuters, the Maldives has administered at least 583,034 doses of Covid vaccines so far.

Assuming that every person needs two doses of the Covid vaccine, the amount of doses administered is enough to have vaccinated about 54.9 percent of the population.

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Will the Maldives come off the red list?

The outcome of the next traffic light system review is expected on either Wednesday, August 4 or Thursday, August 5.

With Covid cases nowhere near as high as was seen in the region in May, the Maldives’ status as a red list country could end at the next review.

There have been some reports the Maldives could move to the amber list.

When asked whether the Maldives could move to the amber list before September, the Independent’s travel expert Simon Calder said: “The Maldives has a good chance of reverting to amber in August.

“So keep the hope alive. Be warned that if your flights are via Dubai or Doha, you will be required to go into hotel quarantine on arrival in the UK because they are red-listed.”

If the Maldives is added to the amber list, people who are double vaccinated will be able to visit without needing to quarantine on their return back to England.

But if the Maldives is added to the new ‘amber plus’ category, people will be required to self-isolate upon their return to England, regardless of their vaccination status.

However, the decisions behind the traffic light system can be unclear, so the Maldives could also remain on the red list at the next review.

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