The incident of a senior US diplomat being given the green light to enter into the country sans a PCR test became a learning moment and resulted in the issuance of revised instructions for diplomats to be followed when arriving in Sri Lanka due to Covid-19, Admiral Professor Jayanath Colombage, the Additional Secretary to the President for Foreign Relations, said today.
Speaking to Daily Mirror, Admiral Professor Colombage said the official approval for the said diplomat to arrive in Sri Lanka was sent on May 26, before PCR tests were made mandatory at the airport.
“We are still learning about COVID-19 and the airport is adapting to changes. When we sent the approval for the diplomat’s arrival, PCR tests were not mandatory at the airport. The diplomat was told back then that he has to undergo quarantine under the Embassy’s supervision and would be subjected to a PCR test. However, the location where the PCR test would be conducted was not specified,” he said.
The PCR tests were made mandatory on arrival at the airport from June 1.
Admiral Professor Colombage said the diplomat was not aware of the new system at the airport.
“Due to this situation, the airport officials faced an issue. After consulting relevant government officials, the airport officials decided to let him go. We learnt a lesson and now we have issued revised instructions for arriving diplomats,” he said.
When asked whether the US Embassy has informed the government of the said diplomat undergoing quarantine at the embassy, Admiral Professor Colombage said, “Yes, it should be so. All embassies have to do so”. (Lahiru Pothmulla)