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China contributes MVR 4 million towards expatriate labour quarters

Ahmed Aiham
06 May 2020, MVT 19:39
An aerial photograph of the ongoing construction of the Chinese built expatriate labour quarters. PHOTO: HULHUMALE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
Ahmed Aiham
06 May 2020, MVT 19:39

Chinese Ambassador to Maldives Zhang Lizhong on Wednesday, revealed that Chinese businesses would collectively have provided over MVR 4 million (USD 280,000) in aid, after the ongoing construction of expatriate labour quarters built on Phase Two of the reclaimed suburb Hulhumale', concludes.

According to the infographic tweeted by the Ambassador, already 68 percent of the project is complete, and overall construction was presumed to conclude by May 18.

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".

Ambassador Zhang previously confirmed that China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) had provided human resources and equipment necessary for the production of the labour quarters, capable of housing 800 persons.

The facility will be segregated into a total of 6 blocks, including a mess hall and two toilet blocks.

Till date, China has collectively donated the following anti-pandemic materials to Maldives:

- 209,080 disposable protective masks

- 11,500 N95 protective masks

- 20,000 KN95 protective masks

- 50 infrared thermometers

- 500 goggles

- 350 medical protective suits

- 20 care beds

- 10,000 testing kits

- 10 ventilators

- 10,000 sampling sticks

- 10,000 detection reagent extractant

Appreciating the help offered by China during these trying times, Minister of Foreign Affairs thanked the Chinese President Xi Jinping, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and the Chinese Ambassador Lizhong, for their kind consideration towards Maldives, despite the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on China.

The government on May 2, announced plans to relocate high-risk expatriate workers from 23 accommodation blocks as a measure to reduce the community spread of COVID-19.

As per the announcement made by the Director-General of Public Health Maimoona Aboobakur, an order was issued to place all high-risk workers in the Greater Male' region under quarantine, in facilities allocated by NEOC.

The COVID-19 outbreak in the capital has disproportionately affected the expatriate population, the majority of whom are Bangladeshi nationals living in highly congested quarters where it is impossible to reduce contact or exercise social distancing. Their often small-spaced living conditions have been described by local and international civil society organizations as, "claustrophobic", "unsanitary" and "overcrowded".

Following the first confirmed local transmission on April 15, Malé has recorded a significant increase in COVID-19 cases. The city is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

The country recorded its first virus death, of an 83-year-old local female, on April 29. The second death involved the passing of a 33-year-old male Bangladeshi national, following a tonic-clonic seizure, who afterwards tested positive for COVID-19.

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 3.7 million people and claimed over 258,840 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, 1.2 million people have recovered.

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