ECONOMYNEXT – Passengers arriving from China are now being channelled separately at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), an airport official said.
BIA Health Office spokesman Dr Chandika Bandara Wickramasuriya told EconomyNext that this step was taken as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus threat.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Foreign Relations (MFR) has taken steps to expedite the process of evacuating all Sri Lankans currently in China, MFR spokesman Ruwanthi Delpitiya said speaking to EconomyNext.
The coronavirus breakout, which originated in the Wuhan province in China, has caused 80 deaths in mainland China, according to CNN, with 2,800 cases confirmed across the country.
In a statement issued yesterday, the MFR noted that the Sri Lanka embassy in Beijing has already submitted an application to land a SriLankan Airlines aircraft in Wuhan city airport to evacuate the 32 Sri Lankan students and their families residing in the city.
The embassy is also following up with the Foreign Ministry of China and the Foreign Affairs Office of the Wuhan Province to expedite the clearance process to land the aircraft, the MFR said.
The Ministry estimates approximately 860 students remain in China spread across various cities.
At the time of writing, no Sri Lankan has been confirmed to be infected with the virus and, according to the MFR, all Sri Lankan citizens who are willing to travel to Sri Lanka from China will be able to able to obtain a 50% discount of the marked fare.
The Sri Lanka embassy in Beijing, consulate generals in Guangzhou and Shanghai are also in constant touch with the Sri Lankan students in Wuhan and other parts of China to provide precautionary methods to prevent the virus being infected, the Ministry added. (Colombo/Jan27/2020)