Soneva funded COVID-19 testing facility opens at Maafaru International Airport, Noonu Atoll.

The center was inaugurated by Health Minister Abdulla Ameen and CEO of ADK Hospitals Ahmed Nashid, in a virtual ceremony attended by Soneva’s CEO and founder Sonu Shivdasani and Velaa Private Island’s General Manager Michal Smejc.

Health Minister Abdulla Ameen said “Maafaru testing center could not have come at a more crucial time. As the country gears to reopen borders testing for Covid-19 becomes even more critical. In addition to testing guests and staff, the facility at Maafaru can cater to the testing needs of the local population,”

The new testing center was built in just 30 days, and it will use the Roche Lifecycle 96 machine, which can process up to 700 tests per day and issue results within 24 hours.

The center will be operated by ADK hospital and is funded by Soneva and Velaa, luxury resort brands as a gesture of corporate social responsibility. 

Soneva and Velaa have also donated 2,500 test kits to the Government, to help with national preparations against the coronavirus.

Soneva’s CEO and founder Sonu Shivdasani said. “My team and I conferred with many infectious disease experts from around the world whilst we composed our Covid-19 response. We consider testing a crucial aspect of our approach. Our conversations with these leading experts, who are at the front line of the battle against Covid confirmed that this virus is less virulent than past viruses including the severe flu that the world was inflicted by 2018.”

“Ironically, it is the fact that it is much milder than past severe viruses and flu’s that has brought the world to a standstill. Because it is less virulent, the initial signs of infection that usually oblige someone to naturally self-isolate and lead others to stay away, is absent. COVID has had many asymptomatic carriers and as a result, the R rate of this virus is substantially higher than viruses that have come before. The best method to reduce the R rate is to test, test, and test again” He added.

Soneva plans to test all guests and employees prior to their arrival at Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani resorts. The brand reassures that their resorts will create safe, virus-free environments for the guest to enjoy their holiday without any concern about the risk of infection. 

The COVID-19 testing center is the inauguration, two days before The Maldives is set to reopen its international borders and kick start the tourism industry. The government has permitted resorts to reopen to welcome guests starting from July 15, and guesthouses will be given clearance to resume operations in August.

The Maldivian government has revealed that it has set a goal of 900,000 tourist arrival for the remaining months of 2020.


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