Five flights to arrive as repatriation of Sri Lankans resumes next week

By Vyshnavy Velrajh

The Foreign Ministry has scheduled five flights to repatriate Sri Lankan migrant workers stranded overseas.

The arrangement comes following the Government’s decision to recommence the repatriation of stranded Sri Lankan migrant workers from next week.

Head of the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 (NOCPC) Army Commander Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva told Colombo Gazette that the repatriation will be carried out in batches and a strategy has been formulated for the process.

The Army Commander said that a number of quarantine centres have been converted as Covid treatment facilities at present.

Four individuals who were repatriated from Dubai this week were detected as COVID-19 patients yesterday.

Therefore, it was essential to make arrangements for adequate quarantine centres and treatment facilities for those who are repatriated, he said.

Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva further said however, a decision has been taken to recommence the repatriation process as it was the responsibility of the Government to assist the nation’s citizens at a time of dire need.

Meanwhile, Director General East Asia at the Foreign Ministry, Kandeepan Balasubramaniam told Colombo Gazette that 05 flights have been scheduled from next week for the repatriation process.

He said 290 Sri Lankans will be repatriated from the United Arab Emirates on the 18th of November and 100 will be repatriated from Italy on the 20th of November.

Meanwhile, 297 Sri Lankans are to be brought down from Qatar on 21st November and another 297 are to be repatriated from Kuwait on 23rd November.

Kandeepan Balasubramaniam added that 290 Sri Lankans will be repatriated from Oman on the 26th of November.

The repatriation process was earlier suspended following the detection of a new coronavirus cluster in Minuwangoda in October.

However, special arrangements were made to repatriate a group of stranded Sri Lankans from Dubai this week on the approval of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. (Colombo Gazette)