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India will maintain staple food supply to Maldives despite lockdown

Fathmath Shaahunaz
25 March 2020, MVT 13:52
Indian High Commissioner to Maldives Sanjay Sudhir (L) and Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid speak to the press. FILE PHOTO: AHMED AWSHAN ILYAS / MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
25 March 2020, MVT 13:52

The Indian High Commission in Maldives, whilst speaking to The Edition, stated that India will maintain essential supplies of rice, wheat flour and sugar to the island nation despite lockdowns and logistical difficulties amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maldivian public recently raised concerns over the provision of staple foods in the wake of the announcement by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi late Tuesday, stating that India will go under "total lockdown" for 21 days to combat the spread of COVID-19.

However, the Indian High Commission told The Edition that India "will continue to maintain essential supplies to our friendly neighbour Maldives in the spirit of our longstanding bilateral partnership", and that the people and government of India will continue to stand by the people and government of Maldives.

Presently, a 20 days' shipment of sugar and rice is en route to capital Male' City, while another 1,500 metric tonnes of rice and 500 metric tonnes of sugar are being loaded at the Tuticorin Port in India.

In an unprecedented move, India implemented the nationwide lockdown at 0000 hrs Wednesday (2330 hrs Tuesday, local time), halting everything except essential services in the country. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India is over 560 and the virus has claimed eleven lives.

Maldives now has 13 confirmed and eight active cases of COVID-19, with five recoveries. So far, only tourists and resort employees have confirmed infections in Maldives with no record of local transmissions within the country. The first Maldivian tested positive for the virus in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The World Health Organization has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected more than 423,700 and claimed over 18,900 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 109,100 have recovered.

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