Authorities to expedite inoculation of 10,000 tourism sector workers

An airport representative wears protective gear as he assists tourists with their luggage at the Velana International Airport. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Tourism Minister Dr. Abdulla Mausoom states the government plans on expediting the inoculation of 10,000 frontline workers from the tourism sector against COVID-19.

In an interview to Sun on Tuesday, Mausoom said the decision was made by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

“We are working with resorts to select workers” he said.

Mausoom said the government will prioritize workers who have direct contact with tourists for the first round of vaccination.

“This includes airport reps, resort workers who provide services directly to guests, and especially those who are older. We will prioritize such individuals. Workers who provide their services directly to guests at closer to three-foot distance will be our top priority,” he said.

“Some front liners were vaccinated when the vaccination program was launched. These workers will be among those who will be vaccinated once all health professionals are vaccinated.”

Health Emergency Operations Center (HEOC) expects all health professionals in Maldives will be administered the first dose of the Covishield vaccine within the next 10 days.

Mausoom said the vaccine holds the single greatest hope for the survival of the tourism sector amid the ongoing pandemic.

He said that all tourism sector workers will be vaccinated in the months to come.

The decision to expedite the vaccination of 10,000 frontline workers in the tourism sector comes amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in resorts.

Maldives received 100,000 doses of the Covishied vaccine donated by India in January, and expects the first shipment of vaccines from World Health Organization (WHO) this February.

Maldives has signed as agreement with AstraZeneca to procure 700,000 more doses of the Covishield vaccine – which is expected to arrive in Maldives in March.