Foreign Ministry, on Sunday announced a SriLankan Airlines flight has been chartered to repatriate Maldivians stranded in neighboring Sri Lanka.
Foreign Ministry, in a statement on Sunday afternoon, said the flight will be held on Wednesday, June 10.
The flight will repatriate Maldivians who travelled to Sri Lanka for medical care, Maldivians who travelled to Sri Lanka on tourist visa, and Maldivian students who have completed their courses in educational institutions in the country, but are unable to return home due to travel restrictions.
The flight will also repatriate Maldivians who wish to return home due to medical reasons or due to changes to their living situation.
The Foreign Ministry said that the first flight may not accommodate everyone who wishes to return to Maldives due to the limited seats, but that additional passengers will be allowed to travel on the flight based on seat availability.
More chartered flights from Colombo to Male’ are being planned for the coming days, said the Foreign Ministry in its statement.
The Foreign Ministry said that the government continues to work on facilitating the repatriation of Maldivians in more overseas countries who have compelling reasons to return home, but that such arrangements were subject to changes based on changes to coronavirus restrictions and policies by relevant authorities.
All inbound travelers are required to undergo mandatory quarantine in accordance with policies established by Health Protection Agency (HPA).
The Foreign Ministry has facilitated the repatriation of Maldivians in Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and various European countries, most of them students.
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 confirmed 1,901 coronavirus cases, 763 of whom have since recovered. Eight have died from complications.