Managing Director (MD) of Aasandha Company Ltd Mariyam Shafeeq announced on Sunday night that efforts were underway, to transport patients in critical condition without treatment options in Maldives, to neighbouring countries.
According to Mariyam, these 33 individuals were prevented from seeking adequate treatment due to the safety measures set in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and must therefore be sent abroad for treatment under the national social health insurance scheme Aasandha.
Speaking at the daily-held virtual press briefing hosted by the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), Mariyam confirmed that discussions over treatment options were ongoing with the governments of neighbouring India and Sri Lanka.
Aasandha's MD further noted that there are a large number of patients seeking treatment outside the country at the time. However, due to limitations posed by the current situation, she stated that treatment options are only being arranged for those in serious conditions.
Mariyam also declared that a total of 114 patients and their helpers, who were abroad for treatment under the Aasandha health insurance scheme while the countries were placed under lockdown due to COVID-19, have now been repatriated.
The public has increasingly voiced concerns over the lack of treatment options, particularly for severely ill persons such as cancer patients, that are caused by the lockdowns across Maldives as well as travel bans and border closures imposed by other countries amidst the worldwide health crisis.
Although the Maldivian government began phase one of easing the lockdown on May 28, the country's borders are expected to open in July.
Maldives presently records 1,315 active COVID-19 cases, five fatalities and 453 recoveries.
The virus outbreak in capital city Malé has recorded a significant increase in COVID-19 cases following the first confirmed local transmission on April 15.
WHO has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 6.2 million people and claimed over 373,961 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, almost 3 million people have recovered.