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VIA closes at night indefinitely, local FlyMe ceases flights

Nafaahath Ibrahim
29 March 2020, MVT 16:47
Airport personnel on duty at Velana International Airport. The highest revenue in 2019, excluding taxes, were generated from Airport Development Charge. PHOTO: MIHAARU FILES
Nafaahath Ibrahim
29 March 2020, MVT 16:47

Maldives Airports Company Ltd (MACL) on Saturday announced the closing of Velana International Airport (VIA) between 2100 hours until 0600 hours for all commercial operations.

However, according to MACL, during the closed hours, medical, humanitarian and non scheduled flights will be accommodated providing that they are given three hours of notice.

This new regulation is set in place henceforth until further notice, revealed MACL via Twitter.

Meanwhile, several airlines, including local airline, FlyMe, have temporarily halted operations as a preventative measure against the novel coronavirus. Several international airlines such as Emirates have also similarly ceased flights.

With Maldives restricting entry for certain countries and ceasing to issue all on-arrival visas, the number of arrivals to the country has decreased rapidly.

Referring to the above as their reason for the temporary halt, FlyMe stated that this cessation would apply to all flights from March 29 onwards. However, the company assured their staff would be on standby to aid on any emergent cases.

On their last day before halting operations, FlyMe has flights scheduled to Alif Dhaalu Atoll Maamigili and Baa Atoll Dharavandhoo.

Maldives now records 17 confirmed and six active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 11 recoveries. While there are two confirmed cases of Maldivians, no local to local transmissions are recorded.

Currently, 20 people are placed in isolation facilities, while 824 are in quarantine facilities. As a preventative measure, HPA has ordered authorities to halt on-arrival visas from March 27 onwards. Furthermore, all inbound locals or visa holders will be placed under observation at a designated facility for a period of 14 days.

The World Health Organization has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected over 664, 000 people and claimed over 30,800 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 142, 000 people have recovered.

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