260 Maldivians to be repatriated from Sri Lanka
The state confirmed on Tuesday night that a total of 260 locals stranded in neighbouring Sri Lanka due to the lockdown implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19 will be repatriated on Wednesday.
Speaking at the daily press conference held by the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), President's Office's Undersecretary Mabrouq Abdul Azeez said that these locals include patients getting treatment under the Aasandha health insurance scheme, disabled individuals, those on tourist visa requiring financial aid, and those who had their flights cancelled due to the lockdown.
All the passengers arriving on this repatriation flight will complete a 14-day quarantine period, either at an isolation facility or at their respective homes.
According to Mabrouq, 153 of the 260 passengers have requested to be placed in home-quarantine, adding that Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) were making travel arrangements to transport the individuals to 13 different atolls.
Shedding light on more repatriation efforts, Mabrouq confirmed that an additional 298 Sri Lankan nationals travelled back to their home country from Maldives within the past 24hrs.
He added that two flights are scheduled, on May 15 and 17, to repatriate locals from Malaysia and discussions were currently underway on determining the priority order for those wishing to book tickets.
Moreover, Mabrouq added that the Malaysian and Sri Lankan governments have not yet permitted the travel of students who are requesting to fly back for the reopening of universities. However, he assured that Ministry of Foreign Affairs is attempting to find a solution for the matter.
He explained that there was a delay in facilitating the travel of patients requiring medical treatment abroad due to a delay in obtaining the flight permit. Aasandha Company Ltd announced that 37 critical care patients, including those diagnosed with cancer, will be sent to India for the required treatment.
Currently, Maldives records a total of 1,942 cases, out of which 922 are active cases of COVID-19. The country records 1,010 recoveries and eight deaths.
As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, Maldives' capital Malé recorded a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in the first week following the first confirmed local transmission on April 15.
WHO has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 7.2 million people and claimed over 411,000 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, 3.5 million people have recovered.