Saudi king postpones visit to the Maldives over swine flu

By The Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 17, 2017 at 3:50 a.m.



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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — The Maldives' government said Friday that Saudi Arabia's king has postponed an official visit because of the spread of swine flu in the archipelago nation.

King Salman was scheduled to visit the Maldives on Saturday. The president's office quoted Foreign Minister Mohamed Asim as saying that a new date will be decided later.

According to health ministry statistics, 105 people have tested positive for the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, since January and two have died in the small country of 340,000 people.

Schools and the state university have been closed to control the spread of the disease.

The 81-year-old king is making a monthlong swing through Asia. Accompanied by a 1,500-strong retinue of businessmen, princes and support staff in close to a dozen aircraft, he has already visited Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and China.

Opposition parties in the Maldives had planned protests during Salman's visit against what they said was a government plan to sell 21 tiny islands to a member of the Saudi royal family.

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This story has been corrected to show that name of virus is H1N1.

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The Associated Press

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