COVID-19: 26 Maldivians to be repatriated from Thailand

COVID-19: 26 Maldivians to be repatriated from Thailand

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Monday afternoon, stated that arrangements to evacuate 26 Maldivians currently residing in Thailand were finalised, scheduling their return later in the evening.

Spearheaded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Maldivians will return homebound via a chartered flight operated by the national carrier 'Maldivian', set to depart to Velana International Airport (VIA) following the repatriation of Thailand citizens from Maldives and Sri Lanka earlier on Monday.

As per the current procedures applicable to those returning from abroad, all 26 locals will be immediately transferred to quarantine facilities from VIA, where they will remain for the standard 14-day quarantine period. They will only be allowed to travel elsewhere after undergoing testing for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the foreign ministry is working to arrange additional repatriation flights to bring back locals stuck abroad amid global travel restrictions and closed borders. This includes Maldivian students in Belarus, who have continued to raise concerns to the Maldivian government about their own safety as the country remains one of the only European nations that are yet to implement strict containment measures against the pandemic.

Prior to this, repatriation efforts were carried out to bring back Maldivians stranded in Nepal, Bangladesh, Russia, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and the United Kingdom as well.

At present, Maldives records 1,371 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 1,221 active cases. The country has reported four fatalities and a total of 144 recoveries till date.

Maldives' capital Malé, one of the most densely populated cities in the world, has recorded a significant increase in COVID-19 since confirming its first local transmission of the virus on April 15.

WHO has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 5.5 million people and claimed over 347,013 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, 2.3 million people have recovered.