Lankans urged to limit non-essential travel to virus-hit regions

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The government has taken a number of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Sri Lanka.

The government has urged Sri Lankans to avoid non-essential travel to virus-hit regions including to 15 Chinese districts. Minister of Foreign Relations Dinesh Gunawardena has also requested Sri Lankans to exercise caution when travelling to other cities in China.

Speaking to media Minister Gunawardena said a group of Sri Lankans residing in Chengdu in China is due to return to Sri Lanka later today.

He said although China has not imposed a blanket ban, it has imposed restrictions in affected areas to minimise the spread of the virus.

Minister Gunawardena said it is advisable to avoid travelling even to other regions that have reported cases during the past two weeks.

He said if someone is compelled to visit the region, they must exercise maximum caution.

The Foreign Relations Minister noted that the government has also made preparations to repatriate Sri Lankans in affected zones.

The government is prepared to borne the expenses during the repatriation process.

The government says steps have been taken to screen all passengers arriving in the country through the Bandaranaike International Airport.

Speaking at a media briefing, Director of the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health Dr. Sudath Samaraweera said the public has been advised to take precautionary measures to prevent the possible spread of the virus.

The Ministry of Foreign Relations has requested permission from Chinese officials to land a SriLankan Airlines plane in Wuhan, China to repatriate a group of Sri Lankans students who are under a mandatory lockdown in the coronavirus hit regions.

Issuing a statement, the Foreign Ministry said relevant documents were handed over to Chinese authorities by officials at the Sri Lankan embassy in Beijing, yesterday.

A total of 32 Sri Lankan students and their family members are scheduled to be brought back to the country.

The Ministry said, the plane will land in Wuhan as soon as it receives the clearance in order to facilitate the repatriation of Sri Lankans.

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