The Public Health Inspectors Union of Sri Lanka claims that none of their members ever supervised any of those who were brought down from India in repatriation flights chartered by Brandix Apparel Ltd. who claim to have subjected all returnees to a 14 day self-quarantine.
Secretary, Public Health Inspectors Union (PHIU), M. Balasooriya dismissing the contents of the media releases issued by Brandix Apparel Ltd and the Task Force of the National Operational Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak, said that, had any one of those who were brought to Sri Lanka from Visakhapatnam, India undergone the 14 day mandatory quarantine at a government-regulated quarantine center, they would have been handed over to them the (PHIs) to supervise the remaining 14 day self-quarantine period.
“Although those who are responsible are now claiming that the passengers who were brought down from India underwent the regulated 28 day quarantine, let them show our Union the details where they underwent the mandatory quarantine and who the respective PHIs were, who supervised them during the 14 day self-quarantine,” Balasooriya alleged.
Meanwhile, when Daily Mirror contacted Rasika, the Load Controller at the Mattala Airport to obtain details of the load sheet in which arrival details of passengers aboard UL 1159 which landed at Mattala Airport on September 22,
at 14.05 hrs, this newspaper was asked to contact the Station Manager Sri Lankan Airlines Uddika Lakshman. The latter too refused to divulge any details and wanted us to contact the Head of Media, Sri Lankan Airlines, Deepal Perera.
Perera requested this newspaper to send him an official request to which an e-mail was sent. However, without providing the details sought – the names and their nationality of each passenger, Perera replied as follows, “The names of passengers who travelled with us is confidential information and disclosure of that information violates our confidentiality obligations towards the passengers. We are unable to share any passenger manifest of a flight containing the names of individuals with a third party unless there is a Court order or directive from our Regulatory Authority directing us to provide any specific information to the Court or such Authority. We appreciate your understanding and we consider this matter as now closed,” Deepal.
In order to obtain the exact details of the passengers, as Sri Lankan Airlines refused to provide, this newspaper requested the necessary details from the airline under the Right to Information Act.
Although Brandix claims that they have not employed any foreigner at their Minuwangoda factory, a senior official who wished to remain anonymous who is undergoing mandatory quarantine at a government regulated quarantine center conformed this newspaper that there are Indian workers attached to the Minuwangoda factory.
“If the company deny this claim, I am challenging the management to show all details of payments that were made to the employees,” the sources said.
When asked whether fabric materials were brought to the factory from India recently, she added that there are imported stocks but said not aware whether they were brought down recently. “I cannot make any comment on that as I am not sure when they were brought to the factory,” the sources claimed.
When we contacted, Imanthi Perera, Head of Corporate Communication, Brandix Apparel Ltd, to find out as to when the three charter flights landed in Sri Lanka together with the flight detail and how many passengers were brought down from India, whether there weren’t any foreigners amongst the repatriated passengers, where they underwent the mandatory quarantine and whether any fabric material was brought down from India, Ms.Perera wanted this newspaper to send her an official request.
Responding to the queries, Ms. Perera stated that the three flights chartered by Brandix Apparel had got down 341 passengers. Although she states that only 48 passengers were brought on UL 1159 on September 22, this newspaper is in possession of an e-mail from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which claims that there were 60 passengers on board. (Nirmala Kannangara)