Expat repatriations to begin soon | Daily News

Expat repatriations to begin soon

Army Commander and Head of the National Operation Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak Lt. General Shavendra Silva said authorities would resume the repatriation of local nationals stranded overseas from next week.

The repatriation had been halted last month due to a sudden surge in COVID-19 patients in the island.

He told the media that all Sri Lankan nationals who are overseas and wish to return to the country will be brought back in batches, with special emphasis placed on those stranded in the Middle East.

“Since Sri Lankans stranded overseas face various issues, we will resume the repatriation program again next week from different countries, mainly focusing on the Middle East,” Commander Silva said.

Those returning will be subjected to PCR tests and will be sent to Forces-run quarantine centres.

Over 50,000 locals who were stranded overseas have already been repatriated back to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka halted the programme due to the detection of two new clusters in Minuwangoda and Peliyagoda.

The Bandaranaike International airport remains closed since March to normal traffic due to the COVID-19 spread but some outgoing flights still operate.