Prime Minister appreciates Chinese government’s support in repatriating Sri Lankan students

Mahinda Rajapaksa - Prime Minister of Sri Lanka

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has expressed satisfaction on the precautions taken and preparedness shown in managing the possible challenges posed from the Coronavirus in Sri Lanka.

He has urged the media and social media to act with responsibility in reporting related developments.

Clear guidelines have been issued by the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services to the relevant health authorities island-wide, with respect to all aspects of management of the current situation.

The Prime Minister made this observation at a meeting held today (28) with the senior officials from Presidential Secretariat, Prime Minister’s Office, Health, Education, Tourism, Foreign Affairs, Immigration & Emigration, Postal Service, Fisheries, Disaster Management and other relevant officials.

He has appreciated the support given by the Chinese government to Sri Lankans, particularly the large number of Sri Lankan students studying in China, during the present period of difficulty and in facilitating return travel to Sri Lanka for those wishing to do so. He also expressed solidarity with the Government of China as it grappled with this medical emergency.

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi briefed on the measures the health authorities were taking to screen passengers who might have been vulnerable to contracting the Coronavirus, and on the preparedness of the Sri Lankan health services both in Colombo and in the Provinces in dealing with any suspected cases. It was emphasized that up to now only one confirmed case has been diagnosed and this Chinese national was recovering at the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Angoda.

While no restriction has been imposed on travel by Chinese nationals, all visitors from China are requested to seek online visa in advance, prior to visiting Sri Lanka. The Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Immigration and Aviation authorities has introduced required screening in keeping with International Health Regulations.

The meeting was also briefed on the steps taken under the direction of the Ministry of Foreign Relations by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Beijing and the Consulate General offices in Shanghai and Guangzhou to facilitate the welfare of the Sri Lankan students presently in Wuhan City which is presently in lockdown status. On the instructions of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a request to repatriate the Sri Lankan students and families numbering 33 from Wuhan City is pending clearance from the Chinese authorities. The Sri Lankan students and other Sri Lankans in China who wish to return, have been also facilitated at 50% discounted airfares by SriLankan Airlines. Air China and China Eastern Airlines have also offered 45% and 50% discounts respectively.

Minister of Information and Mass Media, Higher Education, Technology and Innovation Bandula Gunawardena, Minister of Roads and Highways and Minister of Ports & Shipping and Chief Government Whip Johnston Fernando, Minister of Industrial Export and Investment Promotion Prasanna Ranatunga, and senior officials attended the meeting.

(Source: Ada Derana)

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