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Government to continue with development projects despite COVID-19 outbreak: Finance Minister

Ahmed Aiham
12 February 2020, MVT 16:36
Ameer at Majilis
Ahmed Aiham
12 February 2020, MVT 16:36

Minister of Finance Ibrahim Ameer on Wednesday, assured that development projects for 2020 will continue onwards, despite possible blowback on the economy as a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Responding to Parliament members' questions, Minister Ameer revealed that the state would reduce costs through the recurrent expenditure, adding that the Maldivian economy would be negatively affected, albeit only minutely.

However, the Minister noted that a visible impact on the economy will only be observable within two to four months.

The death toll from COVID-19 surged past 1,000 last weak as the World Health Organization (WHO) warned infected people who have not travelled to China could be the spark for a "bigger fire". Over 45,000 individuals in 25 countries have been confirmed to have the virus.

The government recently revealed that several tourist bookings have been cancelled due to the outbreak.

Maldives has now restricted the entry of all persons who have China as their port of embarkation or have transited through Mainland China, regardless of their nationality. The largest number of tourist arrivals to Maldives are from China.

Prior to this, the government also temporarily suspended all incoming direct flights from China and released a travel advisory for all Maldivians warning against all non-essential travel to China and countries where the virus has been detected.

Ministry of Tourism recorded China with the highest number of tourist arrivals from a single country in 2019. As per statistics, 284,029 tourists arrived from China, a 0.3 percent increase compared to 2018.

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