Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that a number of Maldivians stranded in Sri Lanka, due to the lockdown and travel restrictions implemented over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, will be repatriated on June 10.
According to the ministry, this first repatriation flight operated by Sri Lankan Airlines will airlift:
- Maldivians who travelled to Sri Lanka for medical purposes, and were stranded
- Maldivians who travelled to Sri Lanka on vacation, and were stranded
- Maldivian students who have completed their studies in Sri Lanka but were unable to return
- Maldivians in Sri Lanka who wish to return due to health conditions
- Maldivians who wish to return due to living conditions and necessities
The ministry noted that the government might not be able to accommodate all the Maldivians that wished to return due to limited capacity on the flight.
"However, more flights will be scheduled from Colombo to Male' in the future", said the foreign ministry.
As per the current procedures applicable to those returning from abroad, all repatriated Maldivians will be quarantined for a standard 14-day period. They will only be released after undergoing testing for COVID-19.
The government has been working with relevant foreign governments and international authorities to repatriate Maldivians, who are stuck overseas due to the COVID-19 pandemic and urgently require to return to the island nation.
Prior to this, repatriation efforts were carried out to bring back Maldivians stranded in Nepal, Bangladesh, Russia, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand, Belarus and the UK as well.
Currently, Maldives records a total of 1,901 cases, out of which 1,130 are active cases of COVID-19. The country records 763 recoveries and eight deaths.
WHO has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 6.9 million people and claimed over 402,500 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, 3.4 million people have recovered.