The Edition


China completes expatriate labour quarters, hands over to HDC

Ahmed Aiham
20 May 2020, MVT 14:46
An aerial photograph of the ongoing construction of the Chinese built expatriate labour quarters. PHOTO: HOUSING DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
Ahmed Aiham
20 May 2020, MVT 14:46

The government of China on Monday, handed over the finished expatriate quarantine facility built on Phase Two of the reclaimed suburb Hulhumale', to Housing Development Corporation (HDC).

Chinese Ambassador to Maldives Zhang Lizhong 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 is segregated into a total of 6 blocks, including a mess hall and two toilet blocks.

Completed in a total of 22 days and with Chinese businesses reported to have collectively provided over MVR 4 million (USD 280,000) in assistance to build the facility, the Ambassador disclosed that the aid was provided following a request issued from the Maldivian government and that efforts were completed in a "race against time".

The government on May 2, announced plans to relocate high-risk expatriate workers from high-risk 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".

With this development, Maldives currently records 1,186 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 1096 active cases. The country has reported four fatalities and a total of 86 recoveries till date.

The capital city of Maldives, Male', one of the most densely populated cities in the world has recorded a significant increase in COVID-19 since recording its first local transmission of the virus on April 15, involving a Maldivian woman who sought assistance from a flu clinic in Malé after developing symptoms for the virus.

WHO has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 4.98 million people and claimed over 324,996 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, 1.95 million people have recovered.