Restricting entry not a feasible solution : Nasheed

Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed has stated that it is not a feasible solution to barr entry for those arriving from infected countries in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

An emergency motion was submitted under Section 170 of Standing Orders by Kaashidhoo MP Abdulla Jabir during Monday's parliament sitting. In his motion, the MP said the preventive measures adopted by the government to combat the virus were negatively impacting the country's economy.

While the debate on the motion was ongoing, Speaker Nasheed said the parliament members were divided on how to manage the COVID-19 outbreak. One group wishes to barr entry into Maldives for those arriving from severely infected countries while others are concerned that such a move could cause a detrimental economical impact, said Nasheed.

Nasheed questioned if the virus can be stopped from reaching Maldives simply by prohibiting entry to those arriving from abroad. While Maldives has already restricted entry to those arriving from Italy, they are still free to travel to other countries, said Nasheed. The residents of those countries will still be able to travel to Maldives, noted Nasheed.

"Italy's airlines fly to Germany, United Kingdom and other European countries. Flights continue to arrive in Maldives from these countries. If we are to stop flights, we must suspend flights from all countries. If we are to prevent this virus from reaching Maldives, we have to suspend flights from all infected countries," said Nasheed.

Nasheed further noted that the majority of lawmakers were of the opinion that the current preventive measures were necessary. However, there is also a lot of concern on the economical effects of suspending flights in this manner, said Nasheed.

Four cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the Maldives thus far; two employees of Kuredu Island Resort and two tourists at Bathala Island Resort. The government has suspended inbound and transit flights from China, South Korea, Iran, Italy and Bangladesh.