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COVID-19: China to suspend debt repayment for 77 developing states, including Maldives

Ahmed Aiham
09 June 2020, MVT 13:14
Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid presents Maldives' donation of 1 million tuna cans to China, received by Chinese Ambassador Zhang Lizhong, on February 4, 2020. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED / MIHAARU
Ahmed Aiham
09 June 2020, MVT 13:14

The Chinese government on Sunday revealed its decision to consider including Maldives in its tem­porar­y sus­pension of debt repayments for 77 de­vel­oping states as part of G20's debt service suspension initiative.

During a virtual meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid, Chinese Ambassador to Maldives Zhang Lizhong informed Minister Shahid of the decision.

Till date, China has collectively donated over 200,000 disposable protective masks, 20 care beds, 10 ventilators, and upwards of 10,000 testing kits, sampling sticks, detection reagent extracting and various other forms of aid.

The donations came from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, China Merchants Port Group Co. Ltd, Alibaba Foundation, China Machinery Engineering Corporation, Beijing Urban Construction Investment and Development Co. Ltd, Dongfang Electric International Corporation, China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.

Furthermore, China also developed an expatriate quarantine facility built on Phase Two of the reclaimed suburb Hulhumale', capable of housing 800 individuals.

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 by the Maldivian government and that efforts were completed in a "race against time".

Over the last couple of months, a number of countries as well as private companies and organizations, the World Health Organization (WHO) in particular, have extended generous support to Maldives' COVID-19 response. Maldives continues to receive aid in the form of technical assistance in different sectors, arrangements to conduct testing for COVID-19 across the archipelago and the procurement of various essential supplies.

Currently, Maldives records a total of 1,916 cases, out of which 981 are active cases of COVID-19. The country records 925 recoveries and eight deaths.

As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, Maldives' capital Malé recorded a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in the first week 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 7.2 million people and claimed over 408,794 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, 3.5 million people have recovered.

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