Bangladeshi High Commissioner to Maldives, Rear Admiral Nazmul Hassan, paid a courtesy call on Monday to Vice President Faisal Naseem, at the President’s Office.
At the meeting, Vice President Faisal congratulated High Commissioner Nazmul on his appointment and expressed gratitude towards the Bangladeshi government's assistance to Maldives.
Highlighting the contributions of the numerous Bangladeshi expatriates working in Maldives, the vice president thanked Bangladesh for its continued support for Maldives' worker regularization and repatriation programs.
Vice President Faisal went on to reiterate the government's guarantee to ensure the safety of all foreigners working and residing in Maldives.
In response, the high commissioner thanked the Maldivian government for assisting Bangladeshi nationals residing in the country during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, Vice President Faisal and the Bangladeshi High Commissioner discussed opportunities to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in areas such as higher education and agriculture.
As of October 14, over 7700 Bangladeshi nationals were repatriated on a total of 40 flights. Authorities earlier estimated that approximately 20,000 workers would be sent back to their home countries by the end of 2020.
Since the beginning of the community-wide outbreak of COVID-19 in Maldives, a total of 2,949 Bangladeshi expatriates have tested positive for the virus, amounting to over 26 percent of all confirmed cases in the country.
The COVID-19 outbreak in the capital city of Male' has disproportionately affected the expatriate population, the majority of whom are Bangladeshi nationals living in highly congested quarters where it is impossible to reduce contact or exercise social distancing.
Their often small-spaced living conditions have been described by local and international civil society organisations as, "claustrophobic", "unsanitary" and "overcrowded".