India sending 14-member medical team to Maldives to counter coronavirus
India will send a 14-member medical team and a consignment of medicines to the Maldives on Friday to help authorities in the Indian Ocean archipelago to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, officials said on Thursday.
India has received requests from several countries, including Bhutan, the Maldives, Iran and Italy, for assistance and essential supplies such as surgical masks and protective gear, and these are being processed, external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told a news briefing.
In February, India had despatched a consignment of medical supplies, including gloves, surgical masks, feeding and infusion pumps, and defibrillators, to China in a flight that also brought back Indian nationals from Wuhan.
“We can only spare items which we have at this point of time. Accordingly, based on the request and the availability of such items, a package is being put together,” Kumar said.
A statement from the Indian high commission in Male said the composite COVID-19 medical relief team, comprising pulmonologists, anaesthetists, physicians and lab technicians, will work closely with health authorities in the Maldives to deal with the evolving situation.
India will also send essential medicines despite a temporary ban on their export as a special goodwill gesture to the people of the Maldives. “These humanitarian gestures are a concrete example of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ and the Maldives ‘India First’ policy in action,” the statement said.
A separate statement from the Maldives government the 14-member Indian medical team was being sent in response to a request from the archipelago. The three-month stock of essential medicines is being provided as grant assistance, it said.
India has historically been a first responder to humanitarian crises in the Maldives. India flights evacuated seven Maldivian nationals from Wuhan on February 02 and two more nationals on February 27. In January, India provided 30,000 doses of measles vaccines within 72 hours of a request from the Maldives.