Minister of Tourism Ali Waheed on late Tuesday, noted that 2083 tourist bookings were cancelled in light of the pandemic caused by the Novel Coronavirus.
During the press conference held at the President's Office over the government's preventative measures, Minister Waheed said that 1466 out of the cancelled bookings were made by Chinese nationals, adding that the number of cancellations is expected to rise.
Furthermore, he asserted that any and all information regarding the outbreak will be divulged.
"The most important thing for a government is the health and safety of its citizens. Economy comes second to it", said the Minister. He added that relevant institutions are prepared to take necessary action during such situations.
The special task force formed by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih declared that stringent preventive measures are in place against the virus.
Speaking on behalf of the taskforce, Minister of Health Abdulla Ameen said that the health infrastructure is prepared to coordinate a response in the event the virus is detected. He noted that thermal cameras have been installed at airport entry points across the country, with the guidelines already formulated and frontline staff prepared to address all issues. The minister also highlighted that protective masks and other paraphernalia are being supplied through the State Trading Organisation (STO) and other private companies.
The health minister also assured that the state and all relevant stakeholders are following protocols set by the World Health Organisation (WHO). He urged the people to reduce the risk of infection by practising hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices, in order to reduce exposure to and transmissions of the virus.
Minister Waheed stated that the special task force, comprising of tourism sector stakeholders, is closely monitoring the situation in resorts and other tourism establishments. He added that all tourism facilities have been advised on protocols to follow in the event a suspected case is detected.
The Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new strain of coronavirus first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China in December 2019. As of Wednesday, the death toll reached 132 in mainland China with 5,974 individuals confirmed to be infected, while the total number of cases reach over 6,000 around the world.