Crossroads Maldives donates buggies to support coronavirus response
Crossroads Maldives has donated electric buggies to support the government’s efforts to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
Tourism ministry facilitated the handover of the six buggies to the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) Wednesday afternoon.
The ministry thanked the management of Crossroads Maldives for the donation. The buggies will help in the NEOC’s transport requirements, it said.
Developed by Thailand’s leading developer Singha Estate, Crossroads Maldives encompasses nine idyllic islands fringing the Emboodhoo Lagoon in the South Male Atoll, three of which have been used as the first phase of the project.
Phase one of the integrated development opened in September, and features two lifestyle hotels, SAii Lagoon Maldives and Hard Rock Hotel Maldives, both of which have direct access to extensive facilities at The Marina @ Crossroads, an 800-metre lifestyle area and beach walk featuring retail, entertainment and dining outlets. The facilities include a 30-berth marina, the Junior Beach Club and Camp, the Crossroads Event Hall, Maldives Discovery Centre and Marine Discovery Centre – the project’s environmental and educational hub.
A Curio Collection by Hilton hotel, SAii Lagoon Maldives is an original and inspiring resort that features a series of rooms and villas, including overwater pool villas, plus world-class dining as well as access to extensive water sports, cultural activities and wellness at The Marina.
Hard Rock Hotel Maldives features 178 rooms, suites and villas, plus family-friendly experiences and Hard Rock’s branded concepts, including a Hard Rock Cafe, Rock Spa, and two Rock Shops showcasing merchandise and music memorabilia.
Both hotels are operated by S Hotels & Resorts, the hospitality arm of Singha Estate.
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 955.
Four deaths have been reported and 40 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.
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.