UNICEF Maldives, on Wednesday, extended a grant of US 750,000 through the United States to aid the Maldivian government's COVID-19 response, centred around providing assistance for schools and community spaces to reopen safely.
The grant, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by UNICEF in collaboration with the state, will support community engagement, focusing on parents, teachers, children and adolescents as Maldives transitions to the 'new normal' by reopening schools and public spaces in addition to restarting other services.
"In Maldives, and around the world, the United States is providing high-quality, critical, and meaningful assistance to save lives", said U.S. Ambassador to Maldives Alaina B. Teplitz.
"Lending a helping hand during the worldwide pandemic is part of our enduring commitment to the health and wellness of Maldivians".
According to UNICEF, the grant will provide water, sanitation and hygiene supplies, and strengthen effective infection control for the school reopening phase.
Moreover, it also aims to improve national data collection and analysis tools to support policy decisions for the well-being of children and youth.
Thanking the US for their generous contribution at a critical moment in the ongoing pandemic, UNICEF Representative in Maldives Dr Munir A Safieldin said, "As lockdown measures are relaxed and services are due to gradually reopen, our efforts need to be scaled up to avoid a new surge of infections".
"This support from the United States comes just at the right moment for UNICEF to continue to provide critical support to the government of Maldives, and it will ensure that some of the most vulnerable people including children and young people are protected from COVID-19".
In addition to the US, Maldives has received foreign aid for its COVID-19 response from various other countries, including Australia, China, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Japan, India and Bangladesh.
Maldives currently records a total of 4,446 positive cases out of which 1,719 are active cases. Till date, the country recorded 2,693 recoveries and 19 fatalities.
After recording low numbers for several weeks during the months of May and June, virus cases have now spiked, reducing the total amount of recovered patients from the peak 86 to 60 percent.
The number of COVID-19 cases increased after the state initiated efforts to steer the country towards a 'new normal' with the phased easing of lockdown restrictions across the Greater Male' Region.
On March 12, WHO classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. To date, the new strain of novel coronavirus has infected over 18.7 million people and claimed over 705,000 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 11.9 million people have recovered.