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US donates 60 portable critical care ventilators to Maldives

Fathmath Shaahunaz
24 September 2020, MVT 14:01
Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid speaks at the ceremony held to receive 60 portable critical care ventilators, donated from the US government through USAID to Maldives, on September 24, 2020. PHOTO/FOREIGN MINISTRY
Fathmath Shaahunaz
24 September 2020, MVT 14:01

The United States (US) government on Thursday donated 60 portable critical care ventilators, facilitated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to support the COVID-19 response and recovery efforts of Maldives.

US Ambassador to Maldives Alaina Teplitz symbolically handed over the ventilators to Maldivian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Omar Abdul Razzak at a virtual event held in Colombo. Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid witnessed the handover ceremony, along with senior officials from the foreign ministry and the Ministry of Health.

The health ministry will disperse the critical care ventilators to hospitals across 20 atolls of the archipelago.

In addition to enhancing the health sector's efforts towards combating the spread of COVID-19 and path to recovery, the foreign ministry noted that the donation would further expand the capacity of Intensive Care Units at hospitals even after the pandemic.

Speaking at the ceremony, Foreign Minister Shahid hailed the US as "a close and a reliable friend" to Maldives during challenging times. He conveyed his gratitude to the US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and the US government for their continued support to the island nation.

US Ambassador Teplitz reiterated that the UG government remained committed to working together to strengthen the ties between the two countries.

“We are proud that the American people’s generosity and American private industry are helping the government and the people of Maldives to better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic", she said.

"The United States delivers more than just funds. It delivers expert technical assistance, health systems strengthening, and life-saving diagnostics and treatment. This donation, along with the necessary training and maintenance assistance, represents our strong partnership and our commitment to build a safer, healthier world".

The 60 ventilators are the latest donation from the US towards Maldives' COVID-19 response efforts. The US has till date contributed over USD 4 million, including a grant aid of USD 2 million as economic support, multiple donations of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), PCR machines and other related medical equipment, along with donations through multilateral agencies such as the IAEA and UNICEF.

In addition to the US, Maldives has received foreign aid for its COVID-19 response from various other countries, including China, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Japan, India and Bangladesh.

Maldives currently records a total of 9,885 virus cases of which 1,315 are active cases, in addition to 8,530 recoveries and 34 deaths.

On March 12, WHO classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. To date, the new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 32.1 million people and claimed over 982,100 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 23.6 million people have recovered.