As we reopen our borders, welcoming the world to the Maldives, will it be feasible for the government or tourist establishments to handle quarantine and isolation expenses of travellers without a dedicated COVID-19 coverage insurance for tourists?

PUBLISHED September 10, 2020

Ahmed Afrah
National Boating Association of Maldives (NBAM)
The government cannot continue to bear the full cost of isolation and quarantine charges. At the same time, putting the full expense on the facilities is also going to be difficult for many small facilities. Having mandatory insurance to cover this cost is crucial in addressing these costs and risks.
Having a COVID-19 coverage insurance for the tourists who travel to the Maldives would definitely help reduce the burden on the coffers of the Maldivian government. However, it’s very important that any mandatory life insurance, or any insurance that covers COVID-19 or infectious diseases, is well-tailored for a country like the Maldives. We should be mindful of the extent it would cover expenses; the level of coverage in case you test positive; travel expenses; the extent it would cover your quarantine costs and whether the cover issued matches the policies in the country of the origin as different countries have different policies; and if it covers pre-existing medical conditions as it may not cover those risks. In short, yes, a COVID insurance, in addition to a normal travel insurance, will definitely help to alleviate a lot of additional costs that are being borne by the Government right now. The premium of such an insurance should also be affordable.
It is very important that a proper COVID-19 insurance package is available for the tourists. At the same time, I would like to emphasise that this coverage is to be specifically offered from a Maldivian Insurance provider. It is equally important that this is made available easily through an online portal with just a few clicks, providing ease for the tourists coming to Maldives.
The best thing the government can do is to designate a resort as a COVID-19 hospital facility for the duration of this pandemic. Any person who is positive shall be transferred to this resort for treatment. And the payment attributed to the booking days the tourist has not utilised shall be transferred to the hospital resort for his treatment. In addition to this, every tourist who arrives in Maldives must be mandated to acquire a special COVID-19 health insurance from the Maldives. This way, we can guarantee both a vacation for the tourist, as well as their health and safety. The Maldives would even sell more rooms this way. Moreover, any resort converted into a hospital facility will be compensated and earning as well.
It’s always better to have an insurance that’s safer for all. I’ve heard some insurers are already working on it.
Without an insurance, it will not be feasible for the government or establishments.