India is reeling under the second wave of Covid-19, with spiralling numbers that may soon push the country to the most affected in the world due to the virus. Several other countries are currently temporarily banning flights from India to control infections in their countries. The Maldives, a popular tourist destination that had earlier announced curbs on Indian tourists to certain islands, has on Wednesday banned travellers from across South Asia in a bid to contain surging Covid-19 infections despite having one of the world’s most successful vaccination roll-outs. Sri Lanka and other countries in the region have also imposed travel restrictions as they battle a new wave of the virus that has hit India and its neighbours. The Maldives, whose economy relies on tourists visiting its pristine atolls, has suffered a more than 15-fold increase in daily infections in the past week.
The latest addition came in the form of a post on Twitter, Maldives Immigration released a statement that said, “Temporary suspension for tourists and all other categories of visa holders originating from South Asian countries.” The official Twitter account of the High Commission of India in Maldives retweeted the statement and said, “The temporary suspension of entry to the Maldives for all categories of visa holders from South Asia may impact flights between India and the Maldives.” It also added, “Indian tourists already in the Maldives may make necessary travel arrangements to return to India.”
Following the announcement, most Desis had the same Bollywood celebrity joke.
Many Bollywood celebrities have been facing flak in the past weeks for posting their vacation pictures while the country is dealing with the Covid-19 second wave. Maldives has been one of the most popular destinations among celebs, and many actresses, like Janhvi Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor and Disha Patani had been posting their photos from the beach destination. Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt too flew to the Maldives recently, but haven’t shared any pictures yet.
Bollywood celebrities that have been posting these picture have been criticised by many within their own fraternity. Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui is among them — when asked about stars posting vacation pictures during an interview, he said, “These entertainment celebrities posting vacation pictures at a time when the world is reeling under the worst recession. …Logon ke pass khana nahin hai aur aap paise phenk rahe ho. Kuch toh sharm karo (People don’t have food and you are wasting money, have some shame).”
The actor also says that the celebs are posting about their vacation because they have nothing worthwhile to talk about. “What else will they talk about? Acting? They will run out of steam in two minutes. In logon ne Maldives ko tamasaha bana rakha hai. I don’t know what their arrangement is with the tourism industry. But for the sake of humanity, please keep these vacations to yourself. There is suffering everywhere. The cases of Covid are multiplying. Have a heart. Please don’t taunt those who are suffering,” he said.