Twelve more Sri Lankan migrant workers in Middle Eastern countries have died due to COVID-19 during last three weeks, increasing the death toll to 35, Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) told Daily Mirror today.
By June 19, there were twenty three COVID-19 deaths of Sri Lankans who were working in Middle Eastern countries. According to the Spokesperson of the SLFEB, Mangala Randeniya, the deaths have been reported from United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Lebanon. “There were only two women among the 35 deaths. The rest is men,” he said.
SLFEB said the final rites of all the 35 Sri Lankan migrant workers who died during past four months have been conducted in their respective host countries due to COVID-19 related health concerns. The family members of the deceased in Sri Lanka had given their consent, understanding the current situation, Randeniya said.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, over 50,000 Sri Lankan migrant workers mainly in Gulf countries are left with no way out as the government delayed their repatriations citing safety reasons and lack of quarantine facilities in the country. Following increasing demands, the Sri Lankan government recently resumed the repatriation process.
Meanwhile, despite strict health and travel restrictions in force, the Middle Eastern countries are still reporting rising numbers of new COVID-19 cases. (Piyumi Fonseka)