Chinese Ambassador to Maldives Zhang Lizhong stated on Monday that Chinese businesses had collectively mobilized over 100 workers armed with essential supplies, in a bid to help Maldives' efforts to build additional quarantine facilities, amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ambassador disclosed that the aid was provided following a request issued from the Maldivian government and that efforts were underway to complete the task as quickly as possible, in a "race against time".
In a tweet made early afternoon, Ambassador Zhang confirmed that China State Construction had provided human resources and equipment necessary for the production of temporary quarantine facilities, capable of housing 800 persons.
He further revealed that the Beijing Urban Construction Group had also arranged for a team of 40 people to aid in a project that would transform a two-story building in Hulhumale' from its current condition to a functional temporary quarantine facility that can serve up to 327 persons.
Prior to Monday's move, the Chinese government previously provided Maldives with 30,000 surgical masks and other emergency medical supplies as well.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid thanked the Chinese companies for their support, stating that China's expertise and swift response against COVID-19 would prove beneficial to Maldives.
With rising numbers of people being found positive for the COVID-19 virus in the capital city of Male' as well as new confirmations cropping up in other islands, the Maldivian government has tightened its restrictive measures and is reportedly expanding on health care resources and facilities.
The facility currently being used exclusively for treating patients found positive for the novel coronavirus is Dharumavantha Hospital located in Male' city, while treatment outside the capital is taking place at Farukolhu Fushi and Velidhoo island. Meanwhile, a number of resorts have been utilized and are being used as quarantine facilities for those asymptomatic or suspected.
According to President's Office's Undersecretary Mabrouq Abdul Azeez, the state-appointed spokesman over the crisis, by April 25 a total of MVR 560 million was already spent in the government's response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Maldives now records 214 positive, two probable and 198 active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 16 recoveries.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 2.99 million people and claimed over 207,000 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 881,500 people have recovered.