Maldives asks resorts to cancel local island excursions amidst coronavirus fears

Maldives tourism ministry has requested all resorts to cancel all excursions to local islands as a preventive measure against a potential spread of the novel coronavirus.

“With the current outbreak of the highly contagious and rapidly spreading Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) in several countries around the world and with two cases tested positive in the Maldives, the government of Maldives is taking all preventive measures to control further spreading of the virus and minimise any negative impact on the tourism industry,” a circular issued by the tourism ministry read.

“In this regard, the Ministry of Tourism, requests all tourist establishments to cancel all excursion to local island (eg. island hopping), effective from 8th March 2020 till further notice.”

Maldives on Saturday reported its first cases of the novel coronavirus, as two hotel employees tested positive for Covid-19 at a luxury resort in the archipelago.

Two more cases have since been identified, with two resort islands currently in lockdown.

Maldives had taken several preventive measures against the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

The Maldives had earlier closed its borders to arrivals from the worst-hit countries, including mainland China, South Korea, Italy and Iran.

Cruise ships had also been banned from docking at any of the country’s ports.

All direct flights to and from China, Italy, South Korea and Iran had also been cancelled.

The island nation had installed thermal screening cameras at its international airports.

Quarantine facilities, including designated islets from the 1,192 islands that make up the archipelago, had also been established.

The global coronavirus outbreak is expected to hit the Maldivian economy hard, as tourism contributes the bulk of the island nation’s state revenue and foreign reserves.

The government has already announced several cost cutting measures, including a freeze on the hiring of new staff and suspension of non-essential travel by state officials.

The Maldivian government has reassured the public that efficient and timely measures are taken to protect and control spreading of COVID-19. Quarantine facilities, including designated islets from the 1,192 islands that make up the archipelago, had also been established.

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