Maldives Sees Rapid Virus Drop, Looks to Quick Tourism Rebound

Maldives expects a swift reduction in Covid-19 cases in weeks, as it ramps up vaccination and looks to ease movement restrictions in anticipation of a rebound in tourism next month.

New cases on the Indian Ocean island nation fell to 648 on June 3 from 1,299 a week earlier, when the government introduced a 16-hour curfew to last until at least June 9. Maldives suffered the world’s fastest spread of the virus last month, even as 42% of its people had been inoculated.

“We are expecting this decline to continue,” Mohamed Mabrook Azeez, a spokesperson at the presidency said in an interview. “The measures we have taken so far are working but we will continue to assess the situation to see if it warrants any further changes.”

Like several tourism-dependent island nations, the pandemic has hit Maldives hard. Tourist arrivals dropped to 64,613 in May from 91,200 in April, as the government kept its public-health emergency in place and temporarily banned visitors from India amid a surge in infections in that country.

A rebound, however, is expected in July and 90% of tourist beds are available again, according to Tourism Minister Abdulla Mausoom.

To offset a shortfall of AstraZeneca shots due to interruption of supply from Serum Institute of India, Maldives is seeking doses from other pharmaceutical companies. The government is procuring 200,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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