Ministry issues domestic travel advisory over flu epidemic

The Health Ministry has cautioned against any unnecessary travel over the school holidays over the spread of the H1N1 virus, more commonly knows as swine flu across the archipelago.

The travel advisory was issued after the government closed all public schools in an attempt to halt the spread of the disease.

During a joint emergency press conference late Monday, privately run ADK hospital representative in the task force Dr Abdulla Niyaf said closing schools was only one step against the spread of the disease and advised the people to avoid public places.

He also advised against making any unnecessary travel arrangements over the school break, as it may contribute towards the spreading of the disease.

"The school break opens the door for the spread of the disease, as an increased amount of people from the islands visit Male for various purposes. So we advice against making any unnecessary travel as that would help us curb the spread from Male to the islands," Niyaf explained.

Dr. Niyaf stated that cases have been reported from atolls as well, naming B. Atoll, Hdh. Atoll as well as R. Atoll as examples. He informed that although no one has had to be brought in to Male' from the islands so far, the chances have grown for it to eventually become possible.

Niyaf said reports of the flu were coming in from the islands while Baa, Raa and Haa Dhaal Atolls tops the list. Authorities expect the virus to spread in the coming few days before it would be controlled prompting the decision to close all schools until after the mid-term holidays, Niyad added.

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