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India is creating an air corridor with the Maldives in a bid to boost tourism and income amid the coronavirus pandemic, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said Thursday.

The corridor “would facilitate the movement of people on both sides for employment, tourism, medical emergencies,” the ministry said in a press release.

The first flight under the new arrangement is scheduled to take off on August 18.

“The air bubble symbolizes India’s support to support tourism arrivals and income in the Maldives,” the ministry said.

The Indian government has also provided urgent financial assistance of $ 250 million in the form of a preferential loan to help the Maldives recover economically during the pandemic.

In March, India banned all international flights to and from the country as part of its response to the coronavirus. It has since opened air corridors with France, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Germany to facilitate travel.

The announcement of the Maldives travel bubble comes as India reported 64,553 new cases of coronavirus and 1,007 deaths on Friday.

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