Swift measures to bring back Sri Lankans in China

Monday, 27 January 2020

resident Gotabaya Rajapaksa has instructed officials to bring back all Sri Lankans including students in Wuhan and Sichuan provinces where the Coronavirus is fast spreading.The President’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Relations, Ministry of Health, Sri Lankan Embassy in Beijing and SriLankan Airlines have joined together in this exercise.The Sri Lanka Embassy in Beijing had submitted an application to land a Sri Lankan Airlines aircraft in Wuhan city airport to airlift 32 Sri Lankan students including their family members. The Embassy is closely following up with China’s Foreign Ministry and Foreign Affairs Office of the Wuhan Province to expedite the process of obtaining clearance for the landing of the aircraft, as soon as they are allowed to travel out of their present locations, the Foreign Ministry said.

Tourism and Aviation Minister Prasanna Ranatunga confirmed that according to the directives of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the relevant authorities will take swift measures to repatriate all Sri Lankans.Once the traveling restrictions imposed on Wuhan city is lifted, all Sri Lankan students there will immediately be brought back.Currently, the entry and exit to the Wuhan Province have been banned by the Chinese authorities. The cost of air travel of the students will be borne by the Government.
Measures are underway to evacuate around 150 Sri Lankan students in Chengdu in Sichuan Province within the next 48 hours. A special charter flight of SriLankan Airlines has been deployed for this purpose, Additional Secretary to the President on Foreign Relations Admiral Jayanath Colombage said.The Sri Lankan mission in Beijing has received information about a group of 30 students in Nanning too. Collecting information on Sri Lankan citizens in China is progress, Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Relations Ravinatha Aryasinha said.Relevant officials are constantly in touch with the students through “WeChat”, a Chinese chat app, Admiral Colombage said.
Minister Ranatunga said security measures will be expanded to detect Coronavirus victims at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA). “Accordingly, the number of staffers deployed at the BIA will be increased in collaboration with Health Ministry,” Ranatunga said. Four Infrared Thermal Image scanners (ITIS) have already been installed at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) to detect passengers with Coronavirus. SriLankan Airlines and the Bandaranaike International Airport are following the precautionary measures issued by the World Health Organization.

Dr. Sudath Samaraweera, Chief Epidemiologist of Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health said those who are arriving from China would be subjected to quarantine at the airport. Anyone suspected to be suffering from fever will be transferred to the IDH hospital. Their blood and urine samples will be tested at the Medical Research Institute (MRI) for further clarification.
Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi has instructed medical officials to take all necessary measures. The MRI possesses the capacity to conduct required medical checkups. MRI Director Dr. Jayaruwan Bandara said equipment and chemicals would flown to the country if necessary.
Take effective precautions, Chinese Embassy tells citizens visiting Sri Lanka
The Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka has advised Chinese citizens visiting the island to pay close attention to the development of new Coronavirus infection pneumonia and report suspected cases to the authorities in a timely manner.The Chinese Embassy in a statement said on January 25, the Embassy received a notification that one of the two tour groups from Wuhan to Sri Lanka on January 19 and 21 had fever symptoms and have been sent to the Colombo Infectious Disease Hospital for isolation treatment.
The Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka reminded Chinese citizens in Sri Lanka to avoid contact with people from the affected areas in the near future. They are advised to take effective precautions if contact is really necessary.
“It is recommended that Chinese citizens from the affected areas adjust their itineraries in Sri Lanka to avoid activities in densely populated areas. If you have respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, please report it to your local professional medical institution as soon as possible, and receive isolation inspection and treatment,” the Embassy said.
Chinese citizens in Sri Lanka can contact following numbers if needed:
Colombo Infectious Diseases Hospital Tel: 011-2411284
Sri Lanka National Hospital Emergency Center: 011-2691111
Assistance to Consular Protection in the Embassy of Sri Lanka: 011-2676033
Emergency Call Center for Global Insurance and Services of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs: 0086-10-12308 or 0086-10-59913991
Lankan Embassy in China on alert
The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Beijing is in consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Relations in Colombo, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hubei Province in providing the necessary advice to Sri Lankan students in Wuhan to protect them from the Coronavirus infection.Initially, there were 85 Sri Lankan students in Hubei province. However, most of them had returned to Sri Lanka for the holidays before the outbreak of the Coronavirus.The Embassy in Beijing and the Consulate General in Shanghai and Guangzhou are reported to be making a coordinated effort to provide the necessary support to Sri Lankans there.