National healthcare scheme 'Aasandha' on Friday revealed that 50 Maldivians were sent to neighbouring India to undergo advanced medical treatment under the policy.
According to a spokesperson, the flight which departed at approximately 1830 hrs on Friday, carried 50 individuals comprising of 21 patients and their caretakers.
Aasandha further noted that while 12 patients are to be treated at the Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS Hospital), nine patients will be treated at the Amrita Hospital.
The High Commission of India previously noted that a special waiver was granted to facilitate travel for these patients, in view of the close people-to-people relations between India and Maldives.
In compliance with India's health protection guidelines, passengers on the flight are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine period upon arrival. Individuals are also tested for COVID-19 two days prior to their departure to India.
However, speaking at a press conference held at the Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC) on Saturday, spokesperson and Health Protection Agency (HPA)’s Medical Officer Dr Nazla Rafeeq noted that eight individuals on the flight had tested positive for the virus.
She added that among those that tested positive are four persons undergoing treatment at KIMS Hospital, as well as four Maldivians treated at Amrita Hospital.
This is the fourth batch of Maldivians to be granted entry into India, as borders remain closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, with total 285 persons allowed into the country till date under the special grant.