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COVID-19: Maldives considers closing borders

Mariyam Malsa
25 March 2020, MVT 12:33
Passengers wearing masks at Velana International Airport. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/ MIHAARU
Mariyam Malsa
25 March 2020, MVT 12:33

The government, on Tuesday, discussed the possible closure of the country's borders in response to a severe reduction in tourist arrivals due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

According to local media outlet Mihaaru, prominent members of the tourism industry and state representatives deliberated on the matter.

However, the government has yet to announce an official decision.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has already banned all arrivals from China, Italy, Bangladesh, Iran, Spain, Malaysia, UK as well as parts of Germany, France and South Korea.

Furthermore, the state mandated that all incoming passengers be placed under quarantine for a 14-day period with the exception of tourists checking into resorts.

Previously, statistics indicated that an average of 5,000 passengers arrived at Velana International Airport per day. At present, daily arrivals number between 200 and 300.

Maldives now has 13 confirmed and eight active cases of COVID-19, with five recoveries. So far, only tourists and resort employees have confirmed infections in Maldives with no record of local transmissions within the country. The first Maldivian tested positive for the virus in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The World Health Organization has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected more than 423,600 and claimed over 18,900 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 109,100 have recovered.

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