National airline Maldivian, on Wednesday announced that the frequency of flights from Maldives to Trivandrum, India will be reduced from daily flights to three flights per week.
The company also temporarily halted flights to certain destinations.
Maldivian announced that the changes are in effect from March 18 until March 30. During the period, scheduled flights will only operate on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Meanwhile, last flights to Kochin, India will operate on March 19, 21 and 23.
Maldivian will take its last flight to Dakha, Bangladesh, on March 20 before suspending scheduled flights to the destination.
The company made the decision to close its walk-in ticketing offices indefinitely as a precautionary measure against the COVID-19 outbreak in the country. However, passengers can book and purchase tickets via Maldivian's website and call centre.
Air India has also reduced the number of flights in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Daily flights to India will now operate only twice a week.
Air India flights will depart from Velana International Airport at 1635 hours every Tuesday and Saturday. This schedule will be in effect until March 30.
Customers can make bookings and purchase tickets for Air India by contacting Villa Travels.
As of now, Maldives currently has 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 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.
In the wake of the COVID19 pandemic, Maldivian government presently has several measures in place, including travel bans or heavily monitored incoming travel for certain cities and countries, restricting travel between resorts and local islands, closing all guesthouses across the archipelago, establishing quarantine facilities and flu clinics in populous or vulnerable areas, advising people to pray at home and temporarily closing schools and offices.
Several independent institutions and establishments have followed suit, as demonstrated by the shut down of courts, private colleges and universities, reduction in domestic flights as well as the closing of gyms and other recreational facilities.
The World Health Organization has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected more than 219, 000 and claimed over 8, 960 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 85, 670 have recovered.