Maldives calls to halt travel over swine flu epidemic

Patients milling in the flu clinic opened in IGMH. PHOTO/SOCIAL MEDIA

Patients milling in the flu clinic opened in IGMH. PHOTO/SOCIAL MEDIA

Health Protection Agency (HPA) urged late Tuesday to refrain from travelling unless absolutely necessary and to cancel activities involving large gatherings due to the spread of swine flu in the Maldives.

In a statement, the agency called for everyone’s cooperation in controlling and combating the current flu epidemic. Noting that all schools have been closed over this issue and that the following week is the mid-semester break for all students, HPA also advised to cancel all events and sports activities until further notice.

The agency further urged people travelling abroad to take the necessary precautions and be mindful of personal hygiene.

While all schools and universities have been closed and several offices urged staff to don face masks, resorts are also taking precautionary steps to protect their employees and tourists from the epidemic.

An official of a resort close to capital Male told Mihaaru that the management is in talks to ban their guests and staff from travelling to the capital unless necessary. Assuring that the tourists are yet unaffected by the swine flu, the resort added that they are also working to cut down the amount of time tourists have to spend in the main airport.

Mihaaru was not able to reach the Ministry of Tourism for comment regarding the situation.

In a move to curb the epidemic, flu clinics have been opened in hospitals including Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) and ADK Hospital to provide quick consultations and tests. However, with the increasing numbers of patients, hospitals have admitted to troubles in meeting demand.

IGMH has opened a flu clinic at Thaajuddin School to treat the patients the hospital cannot accommodate, while ADK has transferred its flu clinic to the Maldives National University’s Faculty of Science due to lack of space.

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