Maldives repatriates 5,733 Bangladeshis since pandemic’s start

The Maldives has repatriated a total of 5,733 Bangladeshi nationals, 5,049 of whom are undocumented, since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Maldivian media.

At the latest on Monday, the island country sent back an additional 200 Bangladeshi citizens on a flight headed to Dhaka, The Edition reported citing the national airline Maldivian.

According to Maldivian, the airline has arranged 30 flights to repatriate a total of 5,733 Bangladeshi nationals since the beginning of the pandemic.

The Maldives’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that the number undocumented Bangladeshi citizens repatriated till date has now reached 5049.

The Maldivian authorities estimated earlier that approximately 20,000 workers will be sent back to their home countries by the end of 2020.

Since the beginning of the community-wide outbreak of Covid-19 in Maldives, a total of 2,019 Bangladeshi expatriates have tested positive for the virus, amounting to roughly 34 per cent of all confirmed cases in the country.

The Covid-19 outbreak in the capital city of Male’ has disproportionately affected the expatriate 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 organisations as, “claustrophobic”, “unsanitary” and “overcrowded”.

In a move to contain the spread of the coronavirus, in particular within congested labour quarters, the government mobilised efforts to transfer expatriate workers to safer environments, including temporary shelters in Hulhumale’, Thilafushi and Gulhifalhu.

Maldives now records total 5,785 confirmed and 2,414 active Covid-19 cases, along with 3,349 recoveries and 22 deaths.

On March 12, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified the spread of Covid-19 as a global pandemic.

According to worldometer.info, to date the new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 22 million people and claimed over 777,470 lives around the world.

However, out of those infected, more than 14.7 million people have recovered.