The atoll nation’s Ministry of Tourism and immigration authority declared thetemporary ban on Tuesday, which applies to all visa holders from India, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, in addition to individuals who have transited those countries in the past 14 days.
The ban, effective Thursday,will likely be in place until further notice as Maldives tries to restrain a surge in coronavirus cases, which jumped from around 100 new cases in mid-April to 1,572 on Wednesday.
That’s the highest number of daily new cases in the country since the onset of the pandemic, according to the Health Protection Agency. And it comes amid a rise in new cases throughout the region, especially in India, in which a second wave is murdering tens of thousands of people every day.
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Maldives was one of the first countries to completely reopen to tourists last year,and in recent weeks it has grown into a popular refuge for wealthy Indians, such as Bollywood stars, whose luxury holiday snaps sparked anger in home.
The travel ban doesn’t apply to individuals already in the archipelago, but it is going to frustrate the plans of those who had hoped of a possible escape to Maldives.