Written by Pavani Hapuarachchi
06 May, 2020 | 8:38 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st): A flight carrying nearly 250 Sri Lankans repatriated from Dubai, is scheduled to arrive in the island on Thursday (7th May).
“Tomorrow morning there will be a flight coming from Dubai, that flight is also a cargo flight, which was supposed to return empty but now it is coming with nearly 250 passengers,” said Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage – Additional Secretary to the President on Foreign Relations regarding COVID-19, to News 1st on Wednesday (6th May).
Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage, also said, following the conclusion of repatriation of Sri Lankans from the South Asian region, the focus has now shifted to repatriate Sri Lankans stranded in ASEAN countries.
“Now we are focusing on the South East Asian region, that is Malaysia and Singapore; and thereafter it will be Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines and then going further it will be towards Japan,” told Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage.
According to Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage plans are underway to repatriate Sri Lankan students from Melbourne, Australia aboard a Sri Lankan Airlines cargo flight, which is leaving for Australia on the 10th of May.
He also said the Government of Sri Lanka has catered to most of the requests from Sri Lankan students who were willing to return to the island following the COVID-19 outbreak.
Admiral Prof. Colombage further said, the government is also in the process of focusing on the repatriation of students from the Russian region including countries like Belarus and Latvia; adding that “Russia has offered to bring some of Sri Lankan students to Colombo by one of their aircraft, which is scheduled to come to Sri Lanka, so we are keeping a tab on that as well.”
Commenting on the complications with regard to the repatriation process, Admiral Prof. Colombage said it will be based on the availability of Aircraft, availability of quarantine facilities, and capacity to conduct PCR tests.
“We started this process on the 21st of April, and we are determined to solve all the prevailing problems and bring as many Sri Lankans as early as possible, but considering both their safety and the safety of Sri Lankans,” said Admiral Prof. Colombage.
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