Sri Lanka to Postpone All Repatriation Flights Until Further Notice Due to Covid-19
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The Sri Lankan government has decided to postpone all repatriation flights until further notice in the wake of a Covid-19 cluster detected at a garment manufacturing facility in Gampaha district.
"All repatriation flights have been rescheduled to a future date. Once the local condition is under control, we will resume the repatriation operations immediately," Foreign Ministry on Covid-19 Action and Director General East Asia Kandeepan Balasubramaniam told the Daily Financial Times on Wednesday.
According to Balasubramaniam, nearly 40,000 stranded Sri Lankan citizens from 122 counties have returned to the country so far.
Meanwhile, the government is also mulling the complete shutdown of services at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) including departures until further notice after a minor staff employee tested positive for Covid-19.
"Given the situation, we took a decision to close all operations at the airport and conduct PCR tests for all employees. Over 60 PCR tests for employees were conducted yesterday (Tuesday) at the airport premises," sources told the Daily Financial Times.
On Tuesday, the BIA had announced that all outbound travellers must be in possession of a PCR test result obtained 72 hours prior to the departure.
The number of cases in the recently-emerged Covid-19 cluster at a garment manufacturing facility in Sri Lanka's Gamapaha district has increased to 1,034, rasing the island nation's overall infection tally to 4,459.
On Wednesday, 202 new cases linked to the facility located in Minuwangoda were reported, reports the Daily Financial Times newspaper.
The new figure makes the Minuwangoda the largest cluster identified in the island nation, with the Welisara Naval Camp cluster affecting 950 Navy personnel and their contacts and the Kandakadu Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre cluster affecting 651 persons.
The island nation's Covid-19 death toll stood at 13.