Virus threat hits many expats travel to Kerala

MUSCAT, JUNE 5 – Many expatriate families are reconsidering their travel plans for Eid and school holidays over Nipah outbreak in Kerala’s Malabar region. Kozhikode and Malappuram districts reported several cases of deadly virus that has already claimed 16 lives by now.
“I had booked tickets for my whole family to travel on June 13 prior to Eid al Fitr, but had to cancel them because of the situation back in Kerala”, said manager of a refreshments joint and a father of three.
“I had to cancel tickets for six of a family, after the present issues were reported in the local media”, confirmed Aysha, a travel agent.
Oman’s Ministry of Health (MoH) last week had urged citizens and residents to avoid travelling to Kozhikode and Malappuram, unless it is absolutely necessary and requested those coming from these areas to visit health institutions in case any symptoms such as fever appear within three weeks of their return.
However, the situation now in Kerala is not alarming as no new cases have been reported. Airlines and travel agencies said that there has been many cases of cancellation and postponement of journey. “Compared to last year, airline bookings have declined this season and we are flying with 80 per cent load”, said representative of a budget airline operating to Kozhikode. “I feel this scenario is partially due to the current situation in Malabar area and the fact that market is slowly waking up to the holiday mood.”

KABEER YOUSUF