339 Indians depart Maldives on charter flights

Indians residing in Maldives check-in for a charter flight to New Delhi on June 20, 2020. (Photo/Indian High Commission)

339 Indians residing in Maldives were repatriated on Saturday, as part of the voluntary repatriation program organized by the Indian High Commission.

They departed to India onboard two charter flights operated by IndiGo. The first flight departed in the morning carrying 170 passengers to Trichy, and the second flight departed in the afternoon carrying 169 passengers to New Delhi.

The Indian High Commission continues to facilitate the evacuation of Indians via charter flights.

Thousands of Indians have been repatriated on board charter flights operated by Air India, IndiGo and Maldivian, and on board ships sent under the Indian Navy’s evacuation operation Samundra Setu.

250 more Indians are scheduled to be repatriated on board INS Airavat in the fifth round of evacuations under operation Samundra Setu on Sunday.

Indian High Commissioner Sunjay Sudhir said in video message earlier this June that the High Commission has received a long list of requests from Indians in Maldives who wish to return to India.

 “We have a long list of requests from Indian nationals in Maldives which we certainly cannot completely accommodate. But we will try our best to accommodate as many of the deserving cases as possible,” he said.

Sudhir said that while Indian workers may be currently leaving Maldives, he expected them to return to the country soon.

“I am very happy to see that things are limping back to normalcy in the Maldivian economy as well as on the Indian side. And while we are currently in the phase of evacuation, we will very soon be seeing you all coming back to Maldives and contributing to the economy of Maldives,” he said.

According to the Indian High Commission, Maldives hosts some 27,000 Indians.

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 capital quickly emerged as the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Maldives, contributing to over 90 percent of total cases.

Maldives has 2,150 confirmed coronavirus cases, out of which 1,769 patients have recovered and eight have died from complications.

200 of the confirmed coronavirus cases are Indians.