8 tonnes of medicine held up in India will arrive on Thursday

STO distribution center in Ghiyasuddin International School. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Foreign Ministry, on Tuesday, announced that the shipment of eight tonnes of pharmaceuticals ordered by State Trading Organization (STO) which has been help up in India due to its nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, will arrive in Maldives on Thursday.

The shipment includes pharmaceuticals ordered by STO from different Indian cities.

The lockdown, and the resultant transport disruption, has resulted in logistical challenges in gathering the pharmaceuticals from the different Indian cities and dispatching it to Maldives.

Foreign Ministry, in a statement this morning, said that the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) was collaborating with the Indian Air Force to transport the shipment to Maldives.

An Indian Air Force aircraft is scheduled to fly to New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Madurai to collect the pharmaceuticals and ready it for transport to Maldives on Wednesday, and another Indian Air Force aircraft will leave India carrying the shipment to Maldives on Thursday, said the Foreign Ministry.

India, on March 14, had sent three months’ worth of essential pharmaceuticals to Maldives as emergency relief aid.

It has also lifted transport restrictions to allow shipments of essential staple food products to be brought in to Maldives.

Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid had reached out to his Indian counterpart, Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, to discuss arrangements to ensure shipments of pharmaceuticals and essential food products continue to be transported to Maldives.

Foreign Ministry Communications Director Miuvan Mohamed told Sun that Jaishankar, during his phone conversation with Shahid, had provided assurance Maldives would continue to receive essential imports uninterrupted, despite the lockdown and logistical difficulties.

“During the phone conversation, India provided assurance to Minister Shahid that Maldives will continue to receive pharmaceutical products and staple food products uninterrupted,” said Miuvan.