The Indian Ocean holiday destination saw a one-day increase of 1,500 cases on Tuesday, up from less than 100 a month ago.
Wealthy Indians can no longer escape the pandemic raging in their country by spending their vacations in the Maldives, after the paradise island says it will ban travel from South Asia as it battles an increase COVID-19 infections.
The Indian Ocean holiday destination in southwest India reopened its tourist resorts in July last year after halting international flights for more than three months at the start of the pandemic.
But the atoll nation, an island group of 340,000 people, is grappling with an increase in the number of cases, including a record-breaking 1,500 increase in one day on Tuesday – up from less than 100 cases just ago. a month.
Countries in South Asia, including its larger neighbor India, have been hit by a huge and deadly new wave of infections.
“The government of Maldives has decided to temporarily suspend the issuance of tourist visas for travelers from South Asian countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka,” the tourism ministry said on Wednesday. .
The indefinite travel ban would also apply to travelers who spend more than 24 hours in transit through the listed countries or who have visited them in the previous 14 days, the ministry added.
The Indians have been the largest group of visitors to the archipelago this year.
Bollywood stars who have been traveling from India in recent weeks include Alia Bhatt, her partner Ranbir Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor, who posted Instagram photos of herself doing yoga at sunset at a resort resort of the Maldives.
Travelers from other countries are still allowed to travel to resort islands in the Maldives with a negative PCR test done within 96 hours of arrival, but are not allowed to come into contact with locals.
The upscale tourist spot earlier this week suspended entry for South Asian work permit holders.
A nighttime curfew from 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. has been extended to start at 4:00 p.m., as part of measures to slow the spread of the virus.