155 more Indian citizens repatriated from Maldives
The Indian Government, on Tuesday, repatriated an additional 155 of its citizens via an Air India flight headed to Trivandrum and Bengaluru.
The Indians were stranded in Maldives due to the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Speaking to local media Mihaaru, Deputy Commissioner at the Indian High Commission Shree Rohith Rathish revealed that two flights to New Delhi were scheduled to repatriate 165 Indian nationals on Wednesday and Thursday.
The aforementioned repatriation efforts fall under the 'Vande Bharat' Mission, launched by the Indian government on May 7 to evacuate its nationals stranded abroad due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Individuals made redundant amid economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, people facing medical emergencies and pregnant women are prioritised for repatriation in the 'Vande Bharat' Mission. He noted that a large number of individuals are requesting to travel back to India.
In addition to the 'Vande Bharat' Mission, several chartered flights have also repatriated Indian citizens. The flights were arranged by resorts and companies employing Indian nationals.
Overall a total of 4,000 Indian citizens have been repatriated through the 'Vande Bharat' mission and private charter flights. An additional 2,188 Indians were repatriated via sea on Indian navy ships.
The Indian High Commission previously revealed that a total of 27,000 Indian citizens were employed in Maldives' health and education sectors or as labourers.
The virus outbreak in capital Male' severely affected its migrant worker population, the majority of whom are Bangladeshi nationals living in highly congested quarters where it is impossible to reduce contact or exercise social distancing. Their often small-spaced living conditions have been described by local and international civil society organizations as, "claustrophobic", "unsanitary" and "overcrowded".
As per current statistics, migrant workers consist of almost 65 percent of the positive cases identified in the country, with Indian citizens accounting for 194 cases or 9.26 percent of the total.
Maldives presently records a total of 2,094 confirmed cases, out of which 414 are active cases of COVID-19. The country records 1,670 recoveries and eight deaths.
WHO has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 8.2 million people and claimed over 446,100 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, 4.3 million people have recovered.