103 Maldivians evacuated from Belarus, UK and Sri Lanka

Maldivian students evacuated from Belarus arrive in the UK on May 29, 2020. (Photo/Foreign Ministry)

Total 103 Maldivian nationals, most of them students, have been evacuated from three different foreign countries.

A SriLankan Airlines flight carrying the 103 people landed at the Velana International Airport (VIA) on Sunday morning.

According to the Maldivian Foreign Ministry, the evacuees include Maldivian nationals in Belarus and the United Kingdom who had applied for voluntary repatriation, and the Maldivian nationals in neighboring Sri Lanka who were receiving financial support from the government.

48 Maldivian nationals were evacuated from Belarus, 23 from the UK, and 32 from Sri Lanka.

Those evacuated from Belarus and UK are students.

Foreign Ministry said it in its statement that they had prioritized evacuating Maldivian nationals in Sri Lanka who were being provided financial support due to limited seats on board the flight.

The 103 evacuees will need to undergo 14 days of quarantine in a designated facility and must be tested for the new coronavirus before they can return to their homes.

Maldives identified its first coronavirus case, in Kuredu resort, on March 7, and declared a state of public health emergency over the pandemic four days later on March 11.

While coronavirus cases had initially been restricted to resorts and safaris, and later quarantine facilities holding inbound travelers, Male’ City identified its first coronavirus case on April 15, prompting a city-wide lockdown and a nationwide ban on nonessential travel.

The populous capital has since become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, contributing to over 90 percent of coronavirus cases.

Maldives has confirmed 1,672 coronavirus cases. 401 patients have since recovered, while five have died from complications.

Restrictions to curb the coronavirus outbreak worldwide left hundreds of Maldivian nationals overseas o short-term visits stranded. Many have been evacuated back home in repatriation operations held through inter-governmental collaboration.