No flights, public transport & restaurants for unvaccinated people in the Maldives; efforts to boost vaccination

In what seems a pressure tactic to push people to get Covid-19 vaccines, the Maldivian government has announced a range of restrictions, including banning flights, public transport, and indoor dining, for people who aren’t vaccinated yet

Aug 09, 2021
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Maldives (File)

In what seems a pressure tactic to push people to get Covid-19 vaccines, the Maldivian government has announced a range of restrictions, including banning flights, public transport, and indoor dining, for people who aren’t vaccinated yet. These restrictions came at a time when authorities aim to inoculate at least 90 percent of the eligible population by the end of August. 

The Health Protection Agency (HPA), the leading body managing the Covid-19 crisis in the archipelago, has announced restrictions last week, which will come into effect from September. According to the new directives, unvaccinated people will not be allowed to dine in cafes and restaurants from 1 September. 

They will also be banned from using public transport, gyms, and salons. Restrictions are to be imposed on unvaccinated office employees and other service providers as well. Further, unvaccinated people will also be banned from domestic air travel. 

The purpose behind the severe restrictions, the HPA said, is to promote people to get vaccines as soon as possible, reported Raajje TV. 

The government said they have acquired enough doses to vaccinate the eligible population. And, the AstraZeneca vaccine will be discontinued from next month for the first doses as it will expire in November. The focus is on giving second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines as soon as possible. 

The Indian Ocean archipelago had launched the national immunization drive on 1 February after India donated vaccines to it. The Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC) has recently revealed that they were now in the final stages of the campaign.

By July, 21 percent of the population was yet to receive a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, it expressed concern over the recent low turnout at vaccination centers. 40 percent of the population is yet to receive the second dose. 

After Bhutan, which has inoculated over 90 percent of its population, the Maldives is set to become the second country in South Asia to achieve the milestone. For the archipelago, which relies on tourism for its economy, it will help the country to brand itself as a safe travel destination at a time when there are very few. The Maldives has already fully vaccinated over 90 percent of people employed in its tourism sector. 

Of over its 530,000 people, around 284,300 people are fully vaccinated and 330,500 have received at least one dose in the Maldives. 

(SAM)