President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has declared that the government aims to provide free COVID-19 vaccine to all citizens of Maldives, in the coming months. This was stated during an address to the nation on Wednesday afternoon (20th January 2021), ahead of the arrival of the first COVID-19 vaccines to Maldives from India. The Oxford-AstraZeneca “Covishield” Vaccine delivered to Maldives were produced by the Serum Institute of India and deployed under a special grant program between the two countries. 

President Solih further expressed sincere gratitude on behalf of himself and the citizens of Maldives to India and the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stressing on their boundless generosity and the enduring friendship between the two countries. India has long been the first responder to Maldives in times of crises and emergencies.

President Solih also detailed that the government had been proactively working with health professionals in ensuring the protection of all citizens of Maldives since the infection was first discovered in the first quarter of 2020. In this regard, the government had instantly begun procurement efforts to ensure that enough doses were acquired to vaccinate all Maldivians and the efforts have been successful. 

During the closing remarks, President Solih emphasized on the importance of individual responsibility even during this time of renewed hope, and implored citizens to be cautious to follow the lead of health professionals.

Further to this, during a COVID-19 press briefing held on Sunday night (17th January 2020), the Spokesperson for the Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC), Dr. Nazla Rafeeq stated that work was underway to collect relevant information on those deemed high priority, and that a portal was now online for citizens to submit their information and register to receive the vaccine. The first priority is to be given to healthcare workers during distribution. She further requested that all those that fall under the top priority lists register to receive doses through the portal, which details that vaccination will take place in phases according to availability, with priority given to the most vulnerable. 

Maldives reopened its borders to travelers of all nationalities on 15th July 2020 with stringent safety measures in place. In addition to this, the geographical formation of the islands and the naturally distanced nature of these islands ensure a safe haven for all travelers. These aspects make Maldives one of the safest countries to travel to right now.

With the roll-out of the vaccine in the coming months, it is anticipated that the COVID-19 cases will decrease gradually, making travelers more comfortable and confident to travel to the country. In addition to increasing the safety of all Maldivian citizens, this is definitely an added advantage to future travelers dreaming of traveling to this beautiful island nation.

Since the reopening, 228,087 tourists have arrived up until now, and during the month of January 2021, Maldives has recorded 55,727 tourist arrivals so far (19th January 2021).


Photo Credit: Natucate

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