Health Emergency Operations Center HEOC Spokesperson Dr. Fathimath Nazla Rafeeq says that it has not been proven that the new COVID 'variant of concern; Omicron' spreads as fast as or faster than the Delta Variant but it could be possible.

Speaking at the press conference held by HEOC today, Dr. Nazla said vaccine developers are already working on the vaccine efficacy on the new variant and that the work could take up to two weeks.

Dr. Nazla said that the current data on the variant suggests that it could spread as faster as or faster than the Delta variant but this has not been determined yet.

She went on to say that the variant has now spread to many countries and that the measures taken in the Maldives would delay its arrival but cannot totally prevent it from getting to the country.

HEOC Spokesperson said that the authorities in the Maldives were regularly testing the genome sequencing of COVID samples to determine the variant that is currently in the country and that they were sending samples abroad for the testing.

Yesterday, the Maldives barred entry to travelers from 7 southern African nations including South Africa where the new variant was first detected.

The other countries include Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Estiwani.

HPA had said that this includes travelers who had been in these countries within the last 14 days as well as those who had spent more than 12 hours transit at these countries.

The Agency had also said that locals and work visa holders who had been in these countries within the last 14 days or had spent 12 hours at transit at these countries must complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

HPA had said that they would only be released from their 14-day quarantine with a negative COVID PCR test.