Authorities in the Maldives have tightened their restrictions for inbound travelers arriving in the country amid a dramatic spike in new cases being reported in the islands in the last few days.

The Health Protection Agency HPA as well as the Immigration had said that all inbound travelers are obliged to produce a PCR negative result with a sample that had been taken 96 hours prior to their departure to the Maldives, even if vaccinated.

Authorities said that this would be effective starting today and that this includes Maldivians, tourists, and work visa holders as well.

However, they said that children below one year are exempt from submitting the PCR negative test result.

Immigration said that the PCR negative test result must be attached while completing the online Traveler Health Declaration (THD) form via the “IMUGA” Portal, which has to be submitted within 24 hours prior to departure to the Maldives.

Immigration also said that all travelers are also obliged to submit the THD form within 24 hours of the departure from the Maldives.

This change came as the Maldives saw a record 508 new cases of COVID reported on Sunday amid a sudden surge in new cases across the country.

The new cases have prompted HPA from banning non-essential travel between the islands for the next seven days as authorities scramble to control the vast spread of the pandemic in the country.