By JAMILA HUSAIN
Brandix, which has been in the centre of controversy in recent days following the detection of COVID - 19 patients from its Minuwangoda apparel factory which has emerged into the largest cluster recorded in Sri Lanka, yesterday confirmed it had operated charter flights from India last month but insisted there were no Indian nationals on board but they were Sri Lankan employees working in India and their families.
Upon confirmation from airport officials that Brandix had chartered these flights in September, the final being on September 22 from Visakhapatnam which had landed at the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport at 14.05 pm, Brandix, in a statement to Daily Mirror said this flight had come in but they were carrying their Sri Lankan employees working in India and their families who had come back here, on holiday.
The Daily Mirror learns that the flight had operated as a repatriation flight. However Brandix has insisted that upon landing at the Mattala Airport, these employees and their family members that travelled via this flight on September 22 were immediately placed in the mandatory 14-day quarantine at a government regulated quarantine facility under the supervision of the Sri Lanka Army, in line with Sri Lanka’s protocol for the prevention and control of COVID - 19.
“The initial 14-day mandatory quarantine at the government regulated quarantine facility concluded yesterday, October 6, 2020, during which it was confirmed via the PCR tests that there were zero COVID - 19 positive cases. They have now commenced the 14-day self-quarantine process conducted under the supervision of the respective PHIs,” Brandix said.
Further, in a separate statement, Brandix said none of these Sri Lankans nor their family members who arrived in all three charter flights had visited the Minuwangoda manufacturing facility. The September 22 flight, chartered by Brandix, from Visakhapatnam was carrying 48 passengers and officials at the Mattala Airport told Daily Mirror, that these passengers had undergone the necessary PCR tests upon landing and these passengers and their luggages had been disinfected according to the required COVID - 19 protocol.
The official said that none of the passengers who had arrived on flights at the Mattala Airport had been able to bypass this procedure as it was under the strict supervision of the airport officials and health authorities. “Further, all passengers are then guided to the government allocated quarantine facilities for the mandatory 14 day isolation period,” the official said. Airport officials confirmed that three flights had been chartered by Brandix from India in recent months.
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