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Tourism ministry establishes help desk at VIA

Fathmath Shaahunaz
30 January 2020, MVT 21:36
Tourism Minister Ali Waheed visits VIA to inspect the precautionary steps taken to prevent an outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus in Maldives. PHOTO/TOURISM MINISTRY
Fathmath Shaahunaz
30 January 2020, MVT 21:36

Ministry of Tourism established a help desk at Velana International Airport late Thursday, for operators and visitors regarding the Novel Coronavirus.

In a press release, the ministry stated the help desk commenced services at 1900 hours and will remain at the country's main airport until the global situation improved.

The ministry assured that it was working closely with relevant institutions to analyse the tourism landscape of the country and take necessary action. Accordingly, the ministry has established a 'situation monitoring unit', which is working with the tourism sector stakeholders to take precautionary steps.

Tourism ministry urged visitors and operators to contact the situation monitoring unit at +960 7223131 or the help desk at +960 9423131 should they require any support or assistance.

The government has initiated precautionary measures to prevent a Novel Coronavirus outbreak in Maldives, and made arrangements to immediately respond in the event an infected individual is found in the country. Under these measures, Maldives halted direct flights to and from China on Thursday, while the administration has established thermal screening cameras in all airports across the archipelago to detect suspect cases.

Although the government also announced that isolation facilities have been prepared, Ministry of Health has stated that samples from suspected cases would have to be tested at Pune, India, as Maldives currently lacks the equipment to conduct tests.

The deadly virus, which originated from Wuhan City in the Hubei Province of China in December 2019, has claimed over 170 lives nationwide, while the number of confirmed infections have reached over 7, 700 across the world.

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