Tourism Ministry: No plans to enforce strict measures over monkeypox outbreak

July 15, 2020: Photo shows staff at Velana International Airport. Maldives welcomed its first tourists in more than three months on July 15 after closing its borders on March 27, due to the outbreak of COVID-19. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Tourism Ministry, on Sunday, has stated that they have no plans to enforce strict measures over the outbreak of the viral disease, monkeypox, in American and European countries.

Cases of monkeypox have surfaced in the United Kingdom (UK) which is the second-largest tourist market to the Maldives.

Whilst monkeypox cases usually occur in western and central African countries – this is the first time an outbreak has been detected in other countries without a clear link to the former.

Tourism Ministry’s Senior Executive Director Abdulla Shareef told Sun that the Ministry had discussed measures that will be taken over the outbreak with the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

“HPA is formulating a guideline now. Once received, it will be forwarded to all resorts,” he had said.

Speaking further, Shareef said that investigations so far indicate that monkeypox is not that dangerous. Therewith, he said strict measures such as border closure will not be taken.

“Have not taken note of anything that severe so far. It is not being spread at a rapid rate either. Thus, the solution is to go on with lives by taking precautions,” he had said.

Earlier today, HPA released a statement underscoring that chances of a monkeypox outbreak in the Maldives are slim at the moment.

In their statement, the agency said that they were closely monitoring the spread of monkeypox following the first report from the UK. They underscored that no cases of monkeypox have been identified in the Maldives nor a neighboring country as of Saturday.

Noting the possibility of monkeypox cases can surfacing in the Maldives in future – HPA advised taking precautionary measures.

Maldives was forced to close its borders in light of the COVID-19 pandemic – which plummeted its economy as tourism brings in the largest income to the country.