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COVID-19: Local medical students in Nepal volunteer to aid NEOC efforts

Ahmed Aiham
23 March 2020, MVT 13:49
During the joint drill held on precautionary and response measures in the possible event of a COVID-19 outbreak in Maldives. PHOTO: AHMED AWSHAN ILYAS / MIHAARU
Ahmed Aiham
23 March 2020, MVT 13:49

National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) on Sunday, announced that a team of local students studying medicine in Nepal had arrived in the country.

The government is enlisting local healthcare workers and students abroad as volunteers for the Centre and its operation to curb the virus. Volunteers will be utilized by the growing number of quarantine and healthcare facilities across the country.

"We think it's important to fill the human resource gap", said President's Office's Communications Undersecretary Mabrouq Abdul Azeez.

According to Mabrouq, also serving as government's focal point over COVID-19 pandemic, a total of 33 medical students currently studying in Nepal volunteered their services on Saturday. Out of the above, 10 Maldivians arrived on Sunday, travelling at their own expense.

"We are seeking assistance from Maldivian students abroad as it is important to fill our human resource gap", said Mabrouq.

A second batch of students are scheduled to arrive on Monday.

Over 40 licensed Maldivian doctors are currently recorded to be studying for medical specialization in Nepal.

All students arriving in Maldives will initially undergo a 14-day quarantine period before they are able to assist NEOC's efforts.

The island state announced a state of public health emergency on March 12, under which the government has implemented several measures. This includes travel restrictions to and from resorts and temporary suspension of tourist check-ins in guesthouses and hotels around the country.

Maldives currently records 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 of which 10 are active cases. The country recorded its first two recoveries on Friday, and the third this Saturday. No Maldivians have tested positive for the virus as of yet. So far, only tourists and resort employees have confirmed infections with no local transmissions.

The World Health Organization has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected more than 339,000 and claimed over 14,700 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 98,000 have recovered.

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