Myanmar Tour operators urged to help in fight against coronavirus

The Health Ministry urged tour operators, guides and hotel workers on Monday to report visitors who appear sick, especially those from Wuhan, China, the epicentre of new coronavirus outbreak that has killed 80 people in China.

Meeting with tourism stakeholders in Yangon, Health Minister U Myint Htwe exhorted them to assist the government’s effort to keep the country free of the disease.

”No coronavirus patients have been found in the country so far,” he said. But it could happen anytime. We are in a very precarious situation. We need to be prepared.”

The ministry provided hotels, motels and guest houses across the country with a poster that encourages people to practice hygiene to protect against the virus.

U Myint Htwe said his agency has dispatched more health personnel to airports, seaports and border crossings across the country to boost surveillance against the disease.

U Than Htut, a hotel owner who attended the meeting, said he was grateful to the government for updating them about the effort to combat the disease and ways to detect and prevent it. “It is good for tourism,” he said.

Local tour operators said on Sunday that tourists have cancelled as much as 20 percent of their bookings since news broke of the deadly disease.

A public relations official at Yangon International Airport said Monday that nine airlines had cancelled flights between Yangon and Haikou in Hunan province since Sunday.

Flights between Wuhan and Yangon, and Wuhan and Mandalay have been suspended until February 29 to prevent the spread of the virus to Myanmar, the official said.

Thirteen Chinese airlines fly to 19 foreign destinations at the airport, where nearly 25,000 Chinese passengers arrived from January 1 to 22.

Meanwhile, the Myanmar Embassy in Beijing said it will evacuate 60 Myanmar students by bus.

China has confirmed more than 2700 cases of the virus. Most of the victims are in the central city of Wuhan, but more than 40 cases have been confirmed in other places, with nearly all of them involving Chinese tourists or people who visited Wuhan recently. – The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Source : Myanmar Times

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