Waldorf Astoria Maldives donates handmade protective masks to healthcare workers
Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is supporting the Maldives efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak by donating handmade protective masks to frontline healthcare workers.
While the Maldives is in lockdown, the team at Waldorf Astoria Maldives remains busy producing handmade masks to protect frontline workers of local medical clinics at neighbouring islands.
They have already produced 2,500 masks and aim to make 10,000 more in the coming days.
In addition to the efforts to the help the community, Waldorf Astoria Maldives is ramping up its green initiatives. Its team has started a cleaning effort to maintain the reefs around the resort three times a week.
“Great to see all that GM Etienne Dalancon and the team are doing to support their community and environment during this period,” Paul Hutton, Vice President of Operations for South East Asia at Hilton, said in a Linkedin post.
Spanning three interconnected islands in the South Male Atoll, and a short 30-minute yacht journey away from Velana International Airport, Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi is an iconic resort paradise surrounded by the natural beauty of the Maldivian landscape and the crystal-clear Indian Ocean.
Aside from the excellent restaurants and bars, the resort boasts 122 spacious villas, the Waldorf Astoria Young Discovery Park and a world-class spa.
The coronavirus outbreak has hit the Maldivian economy hard, as travel restrictions and other preventive measures affect the country’s lucrative tourism industry, which contributes the bulk of the island nation’s state revenue and foreign reserves.
Before the pandemic, the government had been bullish about tourism prospects, targeting two million, high-spending holidaymakers this year after last year’s record 1.7 million.
However, tourist arrivals saw a year-over-year decline of 22.8 per cent in the first 10 days of March. Officials say the number of tourist arrivals to the Maldives could drop by half in 2020.
All international airlines have suspended scheduled operations to the Maldives, as the island nation enforced a blanket suspension of on-arrival visa in late March in a bid to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Even before the visa suspension, the Maldives had closed its borders to arrivals from some of the worst-hit countries, including mainland China, Italy, Bangladesh, Iran, Spain, the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Visitors from three regions of Germany (Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg), two regions of France (Île-de-France and Grand Est) and two regions of South Korea were also banned from entering the country.
All direct flights to and from China, Italy, South Korea and Iran were also cancelled.
Cruise ships and foreign yachts were also banned from docking at any of the country’s ports.
With arrival numbers falling and the visa suspension in effect, several resorts across the Maldives had been closed.
Tourism has been the bedrock of the Maldives’ economic success. The $5 billion-dollar economy grew by 6.7 per cent in 2018 with tourism generating 60 per cent of foreign income.
However, the government is at present projecting a possible 13 per cent economic contraction this year — an estimated $778 million hit.
On March 8, Maldives reported its first cases of the novel coronavirus, as two hotel employees tested positive for Covid-19 at a luxury resort in the archipelago.
Eighteen more cases — all foreigners working or staying resorts and liveaboard vessels except five Maldivians who had returned from abroad — were later identified.
A six-case cluster of locals, detected in capital Male on April 15, confirmed community transmission of the coronavirus. Several more clusters have since been identified, bringing the total number of confirmed case in the Maldives to 541.
Only one death has been reported and 18 have made full recoveries. Five remain in intensive care.
The Maldives announced a state of public health emergency on March 12, the first such declaration under a recent public health protection law.
The public health emergency declaration has allowed the government to introduce a series of unprecedented restrictive and social distancing measures, including stay-at-home orders in capital Male and its suburbs, a ban on inter-island transport and public gatherings across the country, and a nationwide closing of government offices, schools, colleges and universities.
Non-essential services and public places in the capital such as gyms, cinemas and parks have also been shut.
Restaurants and cafes in the capital have been asked to stop dine-in service and switch to takeaway and delivery.
A nationwide shutdown of all guesthouses, city hotels and spa facilities located on inhabited islands is also in effect.