The government, on Thursday, announced its decision to facilitate the sending of care packages to Maldivians stranded in Trivandrum and Kochin in India, from their families in Maldives.
According to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, arrangements are being made with the national airline 'Maldivian' to carry care packages to Maldivians stranded in Trivandrum and Cochin in India on its cargo flight scheduled for Saturday.
As cargo planes have limited space, the ministry has said that the service will be prioritized on a first-come-first-served basis.
Those that wish to send a care package can apply to the cargo service through an online application form on the ministry’s website: https://www.foreign.gov.mv/index.php/en/consular/cargo-request-form
Thereafter, packages must be handed over to the Maldivian counter at Velana International Airport between 0800 hrs to 1100 hrs and 1400 hrs to 1800 on Friday, April 10.
As per foreign ministry’s guidelines, families are permitted to send packages up to a maximum allowance of 15 kilogrammes.
Items which are permitted to be sent in the care packages include:
- Prescription medicines (must be accompanied by a prescription)
- Tuna cans
- Fish paste 'Rihaakuru’ (packed by MIFCO or ENZI)
- Packaged food items
List of prohibited items include cigarettes, short eats, cake, fruits and vegetables, raw fish and money.
The government has previously facilitated care package deliveries for Maldivians families living and stranded in Sri Lanka and on Monday, announced the arrangement of such deliveries to Malaysia as well.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, several countries have imposed strict travel restrictions, leaving hundreds of Maldivians stranded in foreign countries.
The ministry further revealed that the cargo flight will return home to Maldives, carrying 200 Maldivians stranded in Trivandrum.
Maldivian has already facilitated the repatriation of 100 Maldivians stranded in neighbouring Colombo, Sri Lanka as well as 188 from Cochin, India on April 6 and April 7 respectively. A further 200 Maldivians stranded in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia landed at the Maldives airport on Wednesday afternoon.
Amid worldwide travel restrictions, the Maldivian government is working to maintain its pledge to repatriate Maldivians abroad wishing to return home.
However, several hundred Maldivian students remain stranded in foreign countries, including those in Bangladesh and Nepal under lockdowns imposed by their respective governments, while students in Belarus have expressed concerns regarding their safety due to Belarus government's inadequate response to COVID-19.
While there are four confirmed cases of Maldivians in Maldives, and now two cases involving Maldivians in the UK and Malaysia respectively, thus far no local to local transmissions have been recorded.
The World Health Organization has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected over 1.5 million people and claimed over 88,900 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 332,900 people have recovered.