By Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana
Eighty nine Sri Lankan expatriate workers have died of COVID-19 to date since the outbreak in March last year, Labour Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told Parliament yesterday.
Minister de Silva, who was answering a question raised under the Standing Order 27(2) by National People’s Power leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said, the next of kin of 60 such Sri Lankans had qualified to receive compensation of Rs. 40,000 in respect of their loved ones. He said compensation had already been paid in view of 39 of them.
“Sri Lankan expatriate workers who succumb to the pandemic are entitled to Rs. 500,000 under the life insurance scheme,” he said.
“We have repatriated 61,750 Sri Lankans since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in March last year. They have been repatriated in charter and mercy flights. Besides, 41,451 Sri Lankan expatriates have been registered to be repatriated,” he added.
“There are 69,000 Sri Lankan expatriates from 137 countries seeking repatriation. More expatriate workers can be repatriated if the number of COVID-19 patients within Sri Lanka are reduced. There will be more room in quarantine centres to accommodate more Sri Lankan expatriates if the number of COVID-19 patents are reduced within the country,” the Minister also said.
He said reducing airfares is also a difficult task according to airline companies and the Civil Aviation Authority.
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