200 more Bangladeshi workers repatriated from Maldives

Bangladeshi workers check-in to a repatriation flight to Bangladesh on June 27, 2020. (Photo/Maldivian)

The Maldivian government, on Saturday, repatriated an additional 200 Bangladeshi workers from the country, as part of its voluntary repatriation program in collaboration with the national airline – Maldivian.

The repatriation flight departed to the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on Saturday afternoon.

The voluntary repatriation program run by the Maldivian government has seen the repatriation of over 3,200 Bangladeshi workers on board chartered flights operated by Maldivian Airlines, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, and the Bangladeshi Air Force since April 21.

More than 2,500 of the workers were undocumented.

And at least three have tested positive for the new coronavirus and are quarantined in Bangladesh.

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.

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.

The vulnerability of migrant workers is evident from records of coronavirus cases released by the health authorities. Maldives has recorded 2,283 coronavirus cases, 35 percent of whom are Maldivians, while the remaining 65 percent are foreign nationals. 1,189 people – making for 52 percent of total coronavirus cases – are Bangladeshis.

And while Maldives has confirmed eight coronavirus related deaths, half of them are Bangladeshis.