Govt’s decision on repatriation next week | Sunday Observer

Govt’s decision on repatriation next week

The Government will announce its decision on resuming the repatriation of nearly 40,000 Sri Lankans living abroad early next week, the Sunday Observer learns.

The Presidential Task Force set up to combat Covid-19 declared the past week until today (19) as its ‘observation week’ to determine whether the situation was favourable to repatriate those who have registered to be brought back.

The program was suspended this month after Covid-19 positive cases increased in the country, and filled up the quarantine centres. By Friday (17) there were over 660 active Covid-19 cases and 99 people under investigation in hospitals.

Over 16,000 have already been brought back through the Government’s repatriation program, which includes 11,000 migrant workers.

The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) has also received information on 40 Sri Lankans who had died due to the virus. Their remains were not brought back to the country due to the international law on Covid-19.

“We have received information that around 1,800 Sri Lankans living overseas are Covid-19 positive. Most of them are hospitalised and some were told to stay in their lodgings. The (Sri Lankan) missions along with the Foreign Employment Bureau are helping them,” Deputy General Manager and Media Spokesperson of SLBFE, Mangala Randeniya said.

He added that the Bureau has taken steps to provide documentation such as visa extensions for some locals who are employed abroad to continue their work without returning to the country.