Cleanup at Vilu Reef resort after three months as quarantine facility

Sun Siyam Resorts’ Sun Aqua Vilu Reef has ended its three-month run as a coronavirus quarantine facility and initiated a cleanup program in preparation of resuming operations as a tourist resort.

Resident Manager Ahmed Rifau told Sun that Vilu Reef, a luxury resort located in Dh. Meedhuffushi, had been used as a quarantine facility since April 23.

The last of those in quarantine at the resort are scheduled to leave this Sunday.

“This is our last day as a COVID facility. We began running as a COVID facility on April 23,” said Rifau.

He said Vilu Reef is holding a cleanup day with the support of the Maldives National Defense Force and Maldives Police Service officers stationed at the resort to manage the quarantine facility.

The resort launched the program, which will see a through cleanup of both the resort’s interior and the beaches, on Saturday.

“Since the resort was repurposed as a COVID facility, we hadn’t been able to clean the resort as we usually did. We have now begun cleaning the vegetation, the interior of the resort, and the beaches,” said Rifau.

Rifau commended the work of MNDF in managing Vilu Reef when it had been run as a quarantine facility, and said that officers had been engaged in managing the situation 24/7.

“I have spent 26 of my life in this business. This is the first time we have had to continue operations under such difficult circumstances. This has been a very different experience,” he said, when asked about his experience running Vilu Reef as a quarantine facility.

Maldives identified its first coronavirus case on March 7, and declared a state of public health emergency over the pandemic four days later on March 11. It ceased the issuance of on-arrival visas and closed its borders on March 27.

While coronavirus cases had initially been restricted to resorts and safaris, and later quarantine facilities holding inbound travelers, Male’ City identified its first coronavirus case on April 15, prompting a city-wide lockdown and a nationwide ban on nonessential travel.

Following a drop in daily infections, Maldives began relaxing the lockdown in the end of May; lifting all restrictive measures in other residential islands, and allowing greater freedom of movement in the capital.

Maldives has 2,187 confirmed coronavirus cases, out of which 1,788 patients have recovered and eight have died from complications.

The recovery rate stands at 81 percent, and the active cases have dropped to 389.

The country has announced plans to reopen its borders to tourists in July.