Maldives Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid has reiterated his government’s full commitment and support to provide maximum healthcare support to all those in need, without discrimination.
He said the government has also identified migrant workers living in congested places and made arrangements to move them to safe accommodation facilities, to curb the spread of coronavirus among those people.
"I remain confident that the close bonds between the two countries and peoples of Maldives and Bangladesh will strengthen further in the years ahead," said Minister Shahid in a statement after receiving food aid, medicines and medical equipment from the government of Bangladesh.
He also hoped to find further avenues to help each other and overcome this global pandemic soon.
On Saturday, Maldives welcomed the arrival of the second Bangladesh Air Force flight carrying 7,000 kg of food and medical equipment and medicine for the people of Maldives to assist their efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
On behalf of the President of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, and the people of the Maldives, the Foreign Minister thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, the government and the people of Bangladesh for this gesture of goodwill and generosity.
"It is a manifest reflection of the close friendship and the significant historic bonds that exist between our two brotherly nations," said the Foreign Minister of Maldives.
Earlier, in April, the Bangladesh Armed Forces also provided assistance in repatriating Maldivians in Bangladesh and Nepal through a special military aircraft.
Bangladesh has also sent a medical team and 100 tonnes of food, medicine, and medical equipment, brought by the Bangladesh Navy just a few weeks ago.
Recent weeks have seen a hike in the number of Covid-19 positive cases in the Maldives, of which a large number of the affected have been the expatriate population, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have agreed to work together to promote health through sport and physical activity with a special focus on preventing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) through sport.
The WHO and IOC signed an agreement terming the collaboration timely as the current COVID-19 pandemic is particularly affecting people with NCDs.
Globally, WHO estimates that one in four adults is not active enough and more than 80 percent of the world's adolescent population is insufficiently physically active.
The new partnership will bring together the sports and health sectors at international, regional and national levels to reach global goal of increasing physical activity by 15 percent, as set out in the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity.
"I am pleased to formalise this longstanding partnership with the International Olympic Committee," said Dr Tedros Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
He said WHO works not only to respond to disease but also to help people realise their healthiest lives and this partnership will do exactly that. "Physical activity is one of the keys to good health and well-being."
Physical activity helps lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and various types of cancer (including breast cancer and colon cancer), said the WHO in a media release issued from Geneva on Saturday.
Other areas of collaboration include working with host countries to ensure the health of athletes, supporters and workers at the games as well as addressing NCD risk factors, including water quality and air pollution.
The two institutions will also work to ensure that the games leave a healthy legacy in host countries through enhanced awareness of the value of sport and physical activity.
The two organisations also intend to work together promote grassroots and community sports programmes that have a further reach within the general public, particularly among girls, older people and people living with disability who may find it harder to keep active and healthy.
“Over the last few months in the current crisis, we have all seen how important sport and physical activity are for physical and mental health. Sport can save lives,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.
"The IOC calls on the governments of the world to include sport in their post-crisis support programmes because of the important role of sport in the prevention of NCDs, but also of communicable diseases.”
Seventy seven Bangladesh nationals are scheduled to return home from the Maldives by a special aircraft of Bangladesh Air Force on May 17.
Bangladesh High Commission in the Maldives on Saturday published a list of Bangladeshis who will return home on May 17.
The Commission has been regularly publishing lists of Bangladeshis initially selected for returning home.
Earlier, the President of Maldives informed the Bangladesh government that they will send back 1500 Bangladesh nationals. Some of them have already returned home.
A special flight carrying 242 Bangladesh citizens stranded in the United States amid coronavirus pandemic is scheduled to arrive here early Sunday.
The flight departed for Bangladesh from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) Friday night.
Bangladesh Ambassador to the USA Mohammad Ziauddin saw off the passengers and wished their safe journey. Embassy officials were present on the occasion.
The sophisticated chartered A 350-900 airbus of Qatar Airways took off at 11:04pm from Dulles International Airport.
After one-hour technical stopover at Doha airport, the flight is scheduled to land at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 4am on Sunday, said the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington D.C.
The travelling passengers include mostly Bangladeshi students studying in different colleges and universities in the USA, Bangladesh citizens who came to America on tourist and business visa and some government and non-government officials.
The passengers also include 49 school and college students who came to the US under Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) programme.
On Thursday, Assistant Secretary of the US Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce had telephone conversation with Ambassador Mohammad Ziauddin and discussed repatriation of Bangladeshi students who were in the USA under the ECA programme.
During the conversation, Royce appreciated the government of Bangladesh and the Ambassador for arranging a special flight to repatriate stranded Bangladeshis in the US including the ECA students.
She stressed on safe and quick return of the repatriated students to their respective homes.
On arrival at Dhaka airport, the passengers will have to submit Health Declaration Forms to the Bangladesh Immigration officials.
Bangladesh embassy in Washington D.C. gave the forms to the Qatar airways for distribution among the passengers.
All traveling passengers got Covid-19 symptom-free medical certificates.
The embassy helped those passengers who could not arrange the medical certificates in cooperation with a pool of Bangladeshi doctors here.
On May 4, the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs chartered the flight of Qatar Airlines to bring home the stranded Bangladeshis.
Oryx Aviation Ltd., General Sales Agent in Bangladesh for Qatar Airways Cargo Flight, handled the chartering and ticketing formalities for this special flight.
Earlier on March 30, the Bangladesh Embassy in D.C. and the two Consulates General in New York and Los Angeles, on an advice of the Foreign Ministry, circulated a notice through their websites seeking information from the Bangladeshis who had been stranded in the USA amid COVID-19 pandemic.
From March 30 to April 30, a large number of stranded Bangladeshi citizens provided their information by email to the Bangladesh Missions showing interest to return home by special flight at their own expenses.
Australian High Commission in Dhaka has said they are considering a third special flight from Bangladesh to help Australian citizens return home.
"Due to the ongoing flight suspension, we are considering arranging a third special flight to Colombo to allow passengers to travel by commercial means to Melbourne," said the High Commission in a message.
The third flight is scheduled to depart Dhaka on May 27.
The High Commission says they need a minimum of 120 full fare passengers to ensure this flight goes ahead.
It said they cannot guarantee that they will be able to organise any further special flights following the departure of the third flight.
The flight is only open to Australian passport holders, Australian permanent visa holders and their spouses, legal guardians or children.
At this stage most scheduled passenger flights to and from Bangladesh remain suspended.
The flight suspension is planned to last until May 30, but it has been extended a number of times and may be extended again, said the High Commission.
They have emailed everyone already registered with then with details about a possible third flight.
"We strongly encourage you to book a seat on the third flight to ensure you can return home as soon as possible," the message reads.
On May 9, a non-scheduled Sri Lanka Airlines flight left here for Melbourne with 220 Australian citizens and their families.
The special flight also carried eight New Zealand citizens and permanent residents on their way back to New Zealand.
Together with 285 passengers who departed from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on April 16, over 500 have so far returned to Australia, said the Australian High Commission in Dhaka.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Australian government has helped over 15,000 Australians to return home from overseas, including from cruise ships and by using one-off arrangements with commercial airlines.