POST TIME: 1 May, 2020 09:36:11 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 2 May, 2020 09:46:59 AM
Hundreds of tourists are still stranded in the Maldives
Independent Online/ CNN

Hundreds of tourists are still stranded in the Maldives

Hundreds of tourists are still stuck in the Maldives, Ali Waheed, the country's tourism minister told CNN's Richard Quest, more than a month after the novel coronavirus arrived there.

Waheed said there were about 500 tourists on the islands, with 100 of them stranded at the airport. The government is helping people who cannot afford to continue staying in resorts.

"We believe they are like locals, they are the people who have brought this country to where it is now," Waheed said.

The first two coronavirus cases in the Maldives were confirmed on March 8, and a state of public health emergency was declared by the Minister of Health on March 12.

There have been 468 total coronavirus cases on the island. A total of 17 have recovered from the virus, while one has died, according to the country's Ministry of Health.

The island nation in the Indian Ocean is known for its luxury resorts, and the tourism industry there has been rocked by the coronavirus pandemic as the country closed its national borders and canceled flights.

In early April, the New York Times reported on life of one couple stuck there on a never-ending honeymoon. "There is nowhere to go. The couple reign like benign yet captive sovereigns over their islet. The days are long and lazy. They sleep in, snorkel, lounge by the pool, repeat," the NYT wrote.