Vulnerable migrant workers being transferred to designated facilities

Vulnerable migrant workers being transferred to designated facilities

The Director General of Public Health has ordered all migrant workers vulnerable to getting infected with COVID-19 to be moved and quarantined at locations designated by the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

An announcement issued by HPA on Saturday said the pandemic currently spreading through the community has affected a disproportionately greater number of migrant workers in the Male' area, and noted that migrant workers remain at greater risk of contracting COVID-19. Therefore, a decision has been made to quarantine at-risk migrant workers at designated facilities.

This includes migrant workers who do not have a specified place of work or designated living quarters, and those presently living in residences being monitored by Maldives Police Service. All migrant workers who have been in direct and indirect contact with persons who have contracted COVID-19 will also be quarantined at a designated location, said HPA. Migrant workers who are not included in the specified categories but still remain at risk of contracting the infection will also be quarantined at designated locations, said HPA.

The first case of local transmission was identified in capital Male' on April 15, and the numbers have been increasing rapidly since then. 519 positive cases have been identified in the Maldives thus far, out of which 343 are foreigners. While congested labour quarters of migrant workers have become hotspots for transmission, 23 such quarters which houses over 1000 workers are currently being monitored by the police.

The National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) has since announced that the process of transferring at-risk workers is now in progress. In this regard, 113 migrant workers are being transferred to a facility in Gulhifalhu which has the capacity to accomodate 674 people, while an additional 82 people will be taken to a special isolation facility in reclaimed suburbs Hulhumale'.

Work is underway to establish additional facilities in Hulhumale', said NEOC. A facility being established by the Economic Ministry in Hulhumale with the capacity to accomodate 2700 people will be ready for operation within the next two weeks, said NEOC, adding that the Home Ministry is establishing two additional two facilities in Hulhumale'.