Sri Lanka repatriates 60,470 nationals, 68,000 awaiting return amid Coronavirus layoffs: Foreign Secy

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has so far repatriated 60,470 national from foreign countries amid a Coronavirus crisis and a waiting list has grown to 68,000, a Foreign Ministry statement quoting Secretary Jayanath Colombage said.

“As the conditions abroad deteriorate and due to the large number of layoff… prospective returnees keep rising and currently an estimated 68,000 Overseas Sri Lankans from various regions have been wait listed by the Ministry for repatriation,” the statement said.

Over 40,000 migrant workers, from the Middle East region and another 20,000 Sri Lankans have been brought down from Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Since the evacuation of 33 students from Wuhan City, on February 2019, the Foreign Ministry had brought back pilgrims, students, government and military officers, short term visitors, sea farers and migrant workers have been repatriated from 137 countries.

Between 2-9 January 2021 another 1400 passengers from Chennai, Melbourne, Kuwait, Doha, Canada, Cyprus and Dubai, will be repatriated Secretary Colombage has said.

Sr Lanka has air lifted over 10,000 packs of dry rations and indigenous medicines to Male, Dubai and Doha and had also given around 80 million rupees for overseas communities in need.

The funds were aimed at supplying basic medicine, testing, tempo accommodation, protective gear, internal transportation and as well as air tickets in some cases.

The Ministry and its 67 Missions are also talking with friendly nations, UN Agencies and regional organizations and getting grants and donations of PCR test kits, RAT kits, test machines, lifesaving medicines, Ventilators, humidifiers and personal protective equipment. (Colombo/Jan03/2020)

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