February 24, 2020
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    Coronavirus: President directs officials to evacuate Sri Lankans Featured

    January 26, 2020

     

    Sri Lanka secured its borders at airports and ports with thermal scanners to detect possible passengers with high temperatures as the death toll due to Chinese Coronavirus reached 40, and suspected cases were reported from elevan countries in four continents. Our staff photographer Sulochana Gamage captured this photo of a Chinese family arriving from Kunming passing through the scanners at the BIA’s arrival terminal last night.


    Sri Lanka secured its borders at airports and ports with thermal scanners to detect possible passengers with high temperatures as the death toll due to Chinese Coronavirus reached 40, and suspected cases were reported from elevan countries in four continents. Our staff photographer Sulochana Gamage captured this photo of a Chinese family arriving from Kunming passing through the scanners at the BIA’s arrival terminal last night.President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday directed the Foreign Relations Ministry to evacuate the Sri Lankan students stranded in Wuhan, the epicenter of the deadly Coronavirus, at state expense.The Foreign Relations Ministry earlier stated in a release that about 30 students with their family members were in the city that was in lockdown, to prevent the virus being spread.

    “Foreign Ministry Secretary Ravinatha Aryasingha has informed the President that their was a travel ban to the city and as soon as it is lifted, the Sri Lankans will be brought back to the country,” the President’s media announced last night.Two patients are being monitored at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (IDH) over suspicion that they could be infected with the deadly Coronavirus.Director of IDH Dr. Hasitha Attanayake told the Sunday Observer that the two patients, a Sri Lankan and a Chinese national, are being monitored at the hospital, but a confirmation on their condition is yet to be made.

    “We have sent necessary samples to the MRI (Medical Research Institute) and their cases are being investigated,” Dr. Attanayake added.The Foreign Relations Ministry was bracing yesterday to evacuate Sri Lankans trapped in Wuhan in the midst of a deadly virus outbreak that shook the world.Although there were no reports of confirmed cases here, Sri Lanka remained vigilant with four thermal scanners set up at the Bandaranaike International Airport, where most of the inbound visitors enter the country.

    The Bloomberg quoting China Morning Post reported, “the health centers in Wuhan are struggling to treat hundreds of sick people, with many turned away from hospitals crammed with patients lying in packed corridors. By Saturday, the Chinese National Health Commission announced 1,287 confirmed cases with 444 new and 237 severe cases. The deaths attributed to Coronavirus were reported only in China and the number stood at 41 by yesterday.Meanwhile, a wife of a Sri Lankan doctorate student in Wuhan on facebook posted that they are stranded in a city that is in a state of lockdown due to the deadly pandemic. Facebook user Harshani Anuradha who is a mother of a four year old girl said that there were other Sri Lankans mostly students trapped in the city. She had appealed officials to intervene to bring them back to Sri Lanka.

    “We have food and water only for one week, and the grocery shops in the city are empty,” she posted on facebook. The Foreign Relations Ministry said there were around 85 Sri Lankan students in Hubei Province, however, most of them had returned to Sri Lanka for the holidays before the outbreak.“The Embassy in Beijing with the help of the Consulate Generals in Shanghai and Guangzhou, and the Sri Lankan Airlines will coordinate efforts to get the students back home,” the PMD release added. “No cases were reported at the BIA,” Dr.S.D.A.S.Nishantha of Airport and Aviation Services said.

     

     

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