The Maldivian Health Protection Agency announced an entry ban for travelers arriving from the South Korean cities of Daegu, Gyeongbuk, Busan, Seoul, Gyeonggi, and Gyeongnam with effect from Tuesday, March 3, due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Travelers from Iran have also be banned from entering the Maldives as of Wednesday, February 26. Maldivian citizens who have traveled to Iran and the aforementioned cities in South Korea will be quarantined for 14 days. An earlier entry ban on travelers arriving from China to the Maldives continues continues to be in place since Monday, February 3.
Cruise ships also remain banned since February 26. Authorities said that this entry ban could be lifted depending on the status of the outbreak.
As of Wednesday, March 4, there have been no confirmed cases of the virus in the Maldives. Further international spread of the COVID-19 virus is to be expected over the coming days and weeks.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider.
In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, individuals are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.