Maldives, China agree to bypass quarantine for returning Chinese tourists
Maldives and China are agreeing on the "fast lane" arrangement will enable Chinese travelers to fly back home from the Maldives without having to serve quarantine periods of up to 14 days after their return.
Instead, they must take a Covid-19 swab test 48 hours before departure from the Maldives and after they land in China.
Maldivian president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih told reporters Tuesday that the ‘fast lane’ arrangement will come into effect when the Indian Ocean tourist paradise reopens its borders on July 15.
The Chinese government is setting up a testing facility at the Maldives main Velana International Airport with the capacity of 1,000 tests per day, he said.
China has initiated similar fast lane arrangements with several Asian destinations like Singapore and South Korea.
Before the pandemic, the Maldivian government had been bullish about tourism prospects, targeting two million, high-spending holidaymakers this year after last year’s record 1.7 million.
However, tourist arrivals saw a year-over-year decline of 22.8% in the first 10 days of March. Officials say the number of tourist arrivals to the Maldives could drop by half in 2020.