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COVID-19: Govt converts HIH into quarantine facility, isolates 15

Ahmed Aiham
18 March 2020, MVT 11:46
View of the outdoor pool at Hulhule Island Hotel. PHOTO/HIH
Ahmed Aiham
18 March 2020, MVT 11:46

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government on Tuesday converted the airport transit hotel 'Hulhule' Island Hotel' (HIH) into a quarantine facility and transferred all 15 individuals in isolation at Vilivaru to HIH.

Prior to establishing the facility, a tourist support centre was built at HIH this Sunday.

Opened 18 years ago, the 5-star HIH has a capacity of 136 rooms. According to authorities, HIH will be utilized by inbound tourists that are to be isolated before departing to their holiday destination and for Maldivians arriving from restricted countries for monitoring purposes.

Efforts are underway to complete the second phase of development at the Vilivaru facility. The facility was developed within ten days, together with various government, tourism establishment and state companies such as Maldives Police Service, Male' Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC), FENAKA Corporation and State Trading Organisation (STO). However, the island faces a significant pest issue from mosquitoes.

Similar to Vilivaru, the government has converted the abandoned Velidhoo Island Resort into a quarantine facility.

Temporary international travel bans are in place from Spain and parts of Germany and France, in addition to China, Italy, Iran, Bangladesh and four regions of South Korea.

Currently, there are 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maldives, including a tourist couple on a liveaboard, two cases from Anantara Dhigu, five foreign nationals from Kuredu Island Resort as well as two foreign citizens from Sandies Bathala and Kuramathi Maldives each. No locals have tested positive for the virus as of yet.

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