Army which transported the first batch of passengers from South Korea to the newly established special quarantine centres in Batticaloa and Kandakadu appealed the general public to cooperate with it in the process of quarantining those arriving from COVID-19 hit countries.
In a statement issued yesterday evening it said that it had to face many hurdles in transporting those who arrived from Korea to the quarantine centres, in terms of vehicles needed for their transport and provision of refreshments and meals as some of the public were vehemently refusing even for a stopover en route to the East.
The statement further said:
“The Government on a directive of the President, Health Ministry and the Ministry of Defence decided on the establishment of provisional quarantine centres in the wake of the looming ‘Covid-19’ threat, but irrational fears and protests continued to hamper those efforts.
However, the Army on the guidelines of commander, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, in less than 72 hours improvised two centres, situated in isolated, remote and very less-populated Punani and Kandakadu areas for this specific purpose after equipping both centres with all amenities and other facilities. Likewise, Lieutenant General Silva, in close collaboration with others is in the process of screening a few more suitable places to be used in future in the event of any emergencies.
During the passage of those expatriates, the Army had to face many hurdles in terms of vehicles needed for their transport and provision of refreshments and meals as some of the public were vehemently refusing even for a stopover en route to the East. Despite those challenges, the escorting Army troops provided them with refreshments and lunch from reputed hotels. This was an attempt of national importance to isolate them purely for quarantine purposes as none of them have been confirmed positive or contagious as of now.
By Tuesday (10) afternoon, Colonel (Dr) Shaveen Gamage, Deputy Director, Preventive Medicine & Mental Health Services of the Colombo Army Hospital, along with a team of 6 Army doctors, took charge of quarantine of all those 305 expatriates, including 2 foreign nationals (father and son) who had arrived from South Korea and Italy in the past 24 hours, in the same manner as how those Army medical experts previously managed with the persons quarantined at Diyatalawa. Major General Rasika Fernando, Commander, Security Forces - East was at both places supervising the project.
In the past 24 hours, escorted by the Police, STF and Army personnel, buses carried 281 of those persons by road to the East while a batch of 24 more expatriates were flown in a Mi 17 helicopter at the initial stage on Tuesday (10).
The Sri Lanka Army at the same time appeals to all those under quarantine to fully support this pivotal national requirement at this critical hour of our nation and the International Community, irrespective of minor shortfalls or lapses in the implementation of the 14-day long quarantine process.”