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Maldives reports first coronavirus cases

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Two hotel employees tested positive for the novel coronavirus at a luxury resort in the Maldives, the government said Saturday marking the first cases reported in the upmarket holiday destination.

The country’s health ministry said two unnamed foreign nationals working at the deluxe Kuredu Island Resort, about 150 kilometres (95 miles) north of the capital Male, tested positive for COVID-19.

Officials said the two men were checked after an Italian tourist who had holidayed at their resort tested positive upon his return home.

The resort was on lockdown Saturday as local authorities moved to check other staff and guests, officials said.

The Maldives had already suspended direct air links with China, the epicentre of the virus. Male has also stopped direct flights from Iran and Italy, two of the worst-hit countries apart from China.

The World Health Organisation has called the spread “deeply concerning” as a wave of countries, the Maldives among them, reported their first cases of the disease — which has killed more than 3,500 people and infected more than 100,000 across 94 nations and territories.

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