Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL), Upul Dharmadasa told Ceylon Today that the repatriation of Sri Lankans from overseas was temporarily suspended from yesterday (25), due to the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases that have arrived in the island on earlier flights.
He referred to the number of COVID-19 cases who had returned to the country from Kuwait “due to the increased number of such cases (56 new tests confirmed cases from Kuwait returnees as of 24 May and more tests are to be carried out today (26). The scheduled flight from Doha/ Qatar will not be worked out until further notice as Qatar is also considered a high- risk area,” he said.
However, he noted that there are two scheduled flights that will arrive in the course of this week. He said they include a charter flight flying students from Belarus on 28 May and a flight carrying passengers of all categories from Melbourne, Australia on 30 May. He stressed that a flight from the United States of America was also scheduled but was pending confirmation.
Repatriation flights from other destinations will be re-evaluated until all polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are completed on all returnees and there is space available for them at quarantine centres. The fresh schedule will be indicated in due course, he added.
On the opening of the Bandaranaike International Airport, he added that the Ministry of Health should introduce a proposal on how to operate it and that they can then follow their instructions.
On the opening of the Mattala Airport on 22 May, he said it is only for charter flights, refuelling, emergency landing and ship crew transfers. A charter flight leaving Yangon, Myanmar will arrive bringing 160 Sri Lankans working in South Korea. On 28 May, foreign ship crew members will fly to Brussels , from Mattala he added.
BY: SULOCHANA RAMIAH MOHAN