After three positive cases of coronavirus were reported from Kerala, the tourism industry in the state is badly hit, with tourists cancelling their bookings.
Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran told the state assembly here on Tuesday that foreign guests who have done prior bookings have cancelled their trip after positive coronavirus cases were reported from the state.
"Hotels bookings were full for February-March. But after the coronavirus reports, bookings have been cancelled. Kerala Tourism suffered during the outbreak of Nipa virus and also during floods. This is another blow for the tourism industry," he said.
Tourism Minister said that compared with Nipa virus outbreak, the cancellation is more this time after reports of coronavirus have emerged. "But overcoming all challenges Kerala tourism industry is recording growth. In 2018, 10.96 lakh foreign tourists arrived, while in 2019 till nine months, 8.19 lakhs tourists have visited the state," he said.
Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja on Monday said the state government has declared coronavirus as a state disaster.
"Kerala today (Monday) declared the novel coronavirus as a state disaster. We want to strengthen our surveillance system and precautionary measures," Shailaja said.
"When we came to know that n-coronavirus is rampant in China, we put in place our own system to contain the virus. There are many students from Kerala in China. We expect that they will come back and the coronavirus may affect the state," she added.
The minister further stated, "We have three positive cases of coronavirus so far. The samples had been sent to the National Institute of Virology for testing. We are calling back the health officers from leave and putting in place all measures to contain the effect of this virus".
Earlier, Shailaja had informed that the third case of coronavirus tested positive in Kasargod, Kerala.
The virus originated in Wuhan in December and has since then spread to various parts around the world.
China has imposed quarantine and travel restrictions, affecting the movement of 56 million people in more than a dozen cities, amid fears that the transmission rate will accelerate.
( With inputs from ANI )