Maldives records 8th COVID-19 death: A 38-year-old Bangladeshi man

A man wears a mask to protect from the spread on the new coronavirus in Male' City on May 27, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Health Protection Agency (HPA), on Saturday, announced a 38-year-old Bangladeshi man in critical condition has passed away.

According to a statement released by HPA, the man was already in critical condition when taken to the Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) in Male' City.

He was declared dead at 09:25 am this Saturday.

“This is the 8th COVID-19 death in the Maldives,” said HPA in its statement.

Maldives identified its first coronavirus case 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 Male’ City has since become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, contributing to over 90 percent of the total cases.

Maldives has a population of close to 150,000 migrant workers, some 63,000 of whom are undocumented.

Most of the migrant workers in Maldives are Bangladeshis, and live in congested labor quarters which make them particular vulnerable to infectious diseases such as the new coronavirus.

The vulnerability of migrant workers is evident from records of coronavirus cases released by the health authorities. Maldives has recorded 1,883 coronavirus cases, 33 percent of whom are Maldivians, while the remaining 67 percent are foreign nationals. 1,018 people – making for 54 percent of total coronavirus cases – are Bangladeshis. And the death of the 38-year-old Bangladeshi man this Saturday means half of the eight coronavirus fatalities in Maldives are Bangladeshis.

The Director General of Public Health has ordered migrant workers in Male’ City who are vulnerable to getting infected with the disease be moved to quarantine facilities. Hundreds have been moved to quarantine facilities in Hulhumale’ and Gulhifalhu, and the government is working on building additional quarantine facilities to house more migrant workers.

The government has also launched an operation to repatriate undocumented migrant workers back to their home countries. The government has announced that some 5,000 undocumented workers will be repatriated in the coming three months.

HPA, in its statement announcing the death of the 38-year-old Bangladeshi man on Saturday, conveyed condolences to his bereaved family.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved family. May Allah grant his soul eternal peace in heaven,” said HPA in its statement.