The government of Maldives tasked several companies with procuring a total of 151 ventilators with a budget of MVR 56.3 million amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC)'s daily press conference held at Dharubaaruge convention centre late Tuesday, President's Office's Communications Undersecretary Mabrouq Abdul Azeez revealed that the company 'Nard' was tasked with procuring six portable ventilators for MVR 1.3 million as well as 20 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) ventilators.
Additionally, Medtech Maldives Pvt. Ltd was tasked with procuring 50 ventilators with a budget of MVR 14 million under single source procurement regulations.
The Maldivian government is also collaborating with the World Health Organization (WHO) to acquire 75 ventilators which will be delivered through Dubai's Executors company. A total of MVR 34 million was allocated for the purpose.
According to Mabrouq, the government has only released funds to Exquitar company thus far, paying 75 percent of the total cost.
Several international organizations have also pledged to provide a total of 28 ventilators to Maldives. The World Bank, UNICEF, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Islamic Development Bank will contribute 18, three, four and three ventilators respectively.
Mabrouq assured that efforts to procure more ventilators were underway despite difficulties posed by travel restrictions and extremely high demand for the machines worldwide. The government aims to secure a total of 200 ventilators as part of the response to COVID-19.
Maldives now has 21 confirmed and five active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 16 recoveries. The first confirmed case of COVID-19 from the capital city of Male' was reported on Wednesday morning.
The World Health Organization has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected over two million people and claimed over 126,700 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 484,500 people have recovered.