Maldivian to commence cargo flights to atolls
National carrier Maldivian finalised the decision to commence delivering cargo to all domestic airports across Maldives to solve supply issues caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the press briefing held by the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), Communications Undersecretary at the President's Office Mabrouq Abdul Azeez stated that several cargo flights would be conducted on a daily basis.
The lockdown imposed on the capital city of Male' on April 17, following the first confirmed incidence of community spread, caused a major disruption of essential supplies to other atolls. Several major ports and the main international airport are located in the greater Male' region.
According to Mabrouq, islands could request necessary supplies through the Local Government Authority (LGA) which would arrange cargo flights.
Furthermore, he added that people released from quarantine would have the opportunity to board these flights to return to their islands of residence.
Maldives Police Service has also commenced issuing permits to ships across the country to collect and transport essential cargo from the capital. Only the boat captain and crew members are allowed to travel on vessels given clearance to travel.
Maldives' first confirmed case of COVID-19 within the capital city of Male', was recorded on April 15, involving a local woman that sought assistance from a flu clinic in Malé after developing symptoms.
In addition to the subsequent city-wide lockdown, the government also banned all travel between local islands after community spread was confirmed.
Maldives now records 129 positive cases, two probable and 113 active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 16 recoveries.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected over 2.8 million people and claimed over 197,200 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 798,700 people have recovered.