54,000 Sri Lankans waiting to return but centres can take only 6,000

Despite some 54,000 Sri Lankans in the Middle East requesting the government to bring them home, Chief Epidemiologist of the Epidemiology Unit, Dr Sudath Samaraweera said the capacity in quarantine centres in the country has already exceeded its limits.

As he said that the quarantine centres could only accommodate 6,000 persons.

However, National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Head and Army Commander Shavendra Silva said 7,058 persons are currently under quarantine at 65 quarantine centres across the country.

It is apparent here that there is a surplus of over 1,000 persons right now in a situation where more Sri Lankans working overseas are expecting to return.

Dr. Samaraweera said a returnee ought to spend a minimum period of 14 days in a quarantine centre until his or her health condition is confirmed by a doctor.

“However, if any person is found to have contracted the Covid-19 from the quarantine centre, the others have to spend a further 14 days,” he said.

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