The government has announced that stringent preventive measures have been put in place against the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)—a new strain of coronavirus first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China in December 2019. The announcement was made by the special task force constituted by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to address the issue.

The media was briefed this evening on behalf of the task force by Abdulla Ameen, the Minister of Health, and Ali Waheed, the Minister of Tourism. Speaking to the media, the Health Minister stressed that the Administration’s utmost priority at the moment was putting every precautionary measure in place against coronavirus, under the direction of President Solih. He said that health infrastructure had been prepared to co-ordinate a response to the possible detection of the disease.

Highlighting that thermal cameras had been deployed at airport entry points across the country, the Health Minister stated that guidelines had been formulated and frontline staff have been prepared to address any issue that may arise. He affirmed that steps had been taken to ensure the supply of protective masks and other paraphernalia through State Trading Organisation (STO) and other private companies.

Following news of the detection of the virus in Wuhan, authorities in the Maldives have taken measures to designate quarantine and treatment facilities. The Health Minister noted that additional arrangements had been made to quarantine and treat suspected patients in Funadhoo Island.

Stressing that the Ministry and other relevant stakeholders are following protocols set by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Health Minister assured that the Administration would keep the public informed with the latest updates at all times. He further urged everyone to take measures to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection, including reducing exposure to and transmissions of the virus, such as employing hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices.

Speaking to the media, the Tourism Minister echoed affirmations that the Administration would be proactive and transparent in keeping the public informed about the developments. He assured that the Administration prioritised the safety, security and health of all citizens above all else and affirmed that it would take every necessary action to this end.

Highlighting that a special task force had been formulated comprising of tourism sector stakeholders, the Minister said it is closely monitoring the situation in tourist resorts and other tourism establishments. He further said that all tourism facilities had been advised on the protocols to follow if anyone is suspected of contracting the virus.