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Maldivians in Bangladesh will be evacuated as soon as permitted: Foreign Ministry

Shahudha Mohamed
05 April 2020, MVT 21:30
People in Bangladesh, shopping in masks. A total of 41 Maldivians are currently residing in Bangladesh. PHOTO: AFP
Shahudha Mohamed
05 April 2020, MVT 21:30

Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday explained that the hold-up in bringing back the Maldivians stuck in Bangladesh was due to the delay in Bangladeshi government issuing certain permits to carry out the evacuation.

Speaking to The Edition, spokesperson of Foreign Ministry Mohamed Miuvan requested students in Bangladesh to contact the Maldivian Mission in Dhaka if they required any aid in the meantime.

"Our mission will attend to it", he guaranteed.

A total of 41 Maldivians were in Bangaladesh when their government locked the country down on March 26 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Most of them are medical students in Chittagong and capital Dhaka.

Due to the lock down, all domestic travel and commercial flight operations are halted. Moreover, Bangladesh announced that no Maldivian commercial flight will be authorised to land in the country prior to upcoming Tuesday.

However, the Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry stated that chartered flights will be permitted to evacuate locals stuck in the country. Japan and America have already evacuated their nationals that were under lockdown in Bangladesh.

Speaking to local media Mihaaru, Miuvan had noted that the ministry was aware of the grievances of those stuck in Bangladesh and arrangements were underway to bring them back home.

"Bangladesh is a country that Maldivian flies to often", he said, referring to the national airlines.

"[They] will be brought back as soon as permitted".

A medical student at Chattogram International Medical College and Hospital noted that the biggest concern was lack of test kits in Bangladesh. Since testing was only available in only six centres, the student further said it was impossible to know the actual number of infected individuals within the society.

"For now, we have food. But when we run out of it, we'll have to go out and buy more", the student said, expressing concerns over possible panic buying.

Schools, colleges and state institutions in Bangladesh are all closed due to the lock down, which is scheduled to be lifted on coming Saturday.

Bangladesh currently reports a total of 60 positive cases, with nine fatalities. People exhibiting flu-like symptoms are only admitted to hospitals after the COVID-19 tests come back negative. Those who test positive are transferred to designated centres for treatment.

However, Bangladeshi media reports claim that some people with flu-like symptoms were not receiving proper treatment due to the lack of test kits.

The World Health Organization has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected over 1,203,966 people and claimed over 64,788 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 247,302 people have recovered.

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