New mechanism to be formulated for repatriation of Sri Lankans
May 27, 2020 02:10 am
A new mechanism is to be formulated to repatriate Sri Lankans who are stranded or faced with various difficulties in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, says the President’s Media Division (PMD).
The nature of the new system will be decided at a meeting scheduled to be held on Wednesday (27). Flights in June to bring back Sri Lankans home will be planned accordingly, the PMD said further in a statement.
The programme to bring back Sri Lankans who are undergoing many hardships due to the global spread of the virus commenced in January under the guidance of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the PMD added.
“Around 33 Sri Lankans including students initially arrived from Wuhan, China on 01 February 2020. They left for their homes after successfully completing the quarantine process. 839 Sri Lankans pilgrims who were stranded in several cities in India reached home on March 19th. By May 25th, a total of 5,485 Sri Lankans from 20 different countries were brought back. Out of the total, 4,826 have been identified by the Ministry of Foreign Relations and Sri Lankan missions overseas. Only 05 (0.01% )out of them were found to be infected following diagnosis.”
However, a record number of returnees from Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait have tested positive for the virus. Several hundreds of returnees are yet to undergo testing.
Almost all the returnees from Kuwait were detainees at welfare centers or deportation centers in that country. It is also a requirement to provide medical treatments to the infected. In this context, it has been decided to revise the repatriation process for Sri Lankans living overseas, the statement continued.
“The Government has decided, on humanitarian grounds, to continue to bring back Sri Lankans in the future too, considering their fate in the event of not having an opportunity to come home.”
The Director General of Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Additional Secretary on Foreign Relations, Presidential Secretariat Admiral Jayanath Colombage, Specialist Epidemiologist Pabha Palihawadana and Director, Medical Research Institute Dr. Jayaruwan Bandara will participate in the discussion that is to be held on Wednesday (27).