Sri Lanka to increase daily PCR tests to facilitate repatriation of Sri Lankans and tourist arrivals

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Sri Lankan authorities have decided to increase the number of PCR tests conducted daily in the country to identify the COVID-19 infected to facilitate overseas arrivals.

Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga chaired a special discussion at the Ministry yesterday (29) to expedite the repatriation of Sri Lankans and to increase the number of PCR tests conducted to ensure that tourists visiting the country are not infected with Covid.

Officials from the Ministries of Tourism and Health as well as the authorities of private hospitals were also present at the occasion.

The Minister appreciating the support given by the Tourism Health and Private Hospitals authorities to the Government’s drive to revive the collapsed tourism industry and repatriate Sri Lankans living abroad, requested the health authorities to increase the number of PCR tests currently being conducted to bring more migrant workers and tourists.

At present the Ministry of Health on a daily basis conducts about 15,000 PCR tests while the private sector conducts between 2,500 and 3,000 PCR tests daily.

As the airport is expected to officially open at the end of the year and commercial operations are expected to commence, Minister Prasanna Ranatunga pointed out that the number of PCR tests should be increased.

Accordingly, it was decided to increase the number of PCR tests conducted for the migrant workers and tourists by 3000 each. Minister Ranatunga emphasized that Sri Lankans living abroad should be given priority in this regard.

The Minister said the main focus of the government is to bring stranded Sri Lankans abroad to the island and while bringing them in, the government hopes to revive the collapsed tourism industry.

Meanwhile, all tourists who arrived in the island yesterday (28) were subjected to PCR, and arrangements have been made to test the tourists arriving today as well, the health authorities stressed. They are currently staying at several hotels in Koggala and Bentota areas and will undergo another PCR test in the future.

Meanwhile, another group of 204 Ukrainian tourists from Kiev and 6 crew members arrived in the island from Mattala Airport at 12.08 pm yesterday (29) on Ukraine International Airlines flight Ps 6385 following health guidelines.

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