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Maldives halts direct flights to and from China

Ahmed Aiham
30 January 2020, MVT 18:24
Maldives has suspended direct flights to and from China. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED / MIHAAR
Ahmed Aiham
30 January 2020, MVT 18:24

The government on Thursday halted direct flights between Maldives and China in an effort to curb the spread of the Novel Coronavirus outbreak.

The announcement was made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid at the President's Office.

The government also issued an advisory for all Maldivians departing to any country with a confirmed case of the deadly virus.

Minister Shahid noted that 69 citizens have registered at the Embassy in China. There are nine Maldivians in the quarantined city of Wuhan, Hubei Province. The government is attempting to evacuate seven out of the nine individuals. The remaining two elected to stay in the country.

He iterated that evacuations will be carried out in conjunction with the evacuation efforts of other countries.

According to Minister of Tourism Ali Waheed, the decision was taken after discussions with key stakeholders of the tourism industry, adding that no suspected cases of the virus were discovered in the country.

As a result of common symptoms between the Coronavirus and the flu, Minister of Health Abdulla Ameen noted that any patient with a fever and/or flu, does not equate to being suspected of being effected with Coronavirus.

The Novel Coronavirus has now been detected in total 17 countries, including India and Sri Lanka, the closest neighbours of Maldives.

The virus, which originated from Wuhan City in the Hubei Province of China, has claimed over 170 lives nationwide, while the number of confirmed infections have reached over 7, 700 across the world.

Although the virus has not yet been found in Maldives, the state assured that precautionary measures are in place. Ministry of Health declared that all tourists entering the country will undergo a screening process and quarantine facilities are set up to isolate any suspect cases as well.

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