By Lahiru Pothmulla
Diplomatic staff have to submit a PCR test-report obtained 72 hours prior to boarding the flight to Sri Lanka and if unable to do so, they would be subjected to a mandatory PCR test at the Katunayake Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), the Ministry of Foreign Relations (MFR) said.
It said in a statement that the revised instructions were issued on June 4 by the Presidential Secretariat on PCR testing and quarantine procedures for members of the Diplomatic Corps based/attached in Colombo when they enter/re-enter Sri Lanka so as to prevent and minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
The Ministry took immediate action to convey these instructions to all Diplomatic Missions, the Representation Offices of the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies, International Organisations and Honorary Consulates resident in Colombo through diplomatic channels.
The revised instructions came in the wake of the arrival of the first diplomat in the country after the COVID19 procedures and protocols were put in place by the government. A senior diplomat of the US Embassy arrived in the country on Thursday and the airport officials had approved his clearance from the airport sans a PCR test after consulting the Presidential Secretariat, the MFR and other authorities.
According to revised instructions, the respective Diplomatic Missions may inform the MFR by a Note Verbal, the details of the diplomats and their family members who are scheduled for entry/re-entry into Sri Lanka for the diplomatic assignments well in advance to obtain prior approval from the concerned authorities.
“The members of the diplomatic staff and their family members need to submit PCR test reports obtained within 72 hours prior to their departure from the respective countries. If they are unable to do so they would be subjected to a mandatory PCR test at the BIA in Katunayake,” the Ministry said.
The Heads of Mission and family members will self-quarantine at the Official Residences while all other arriving Diplomatic staff and their family members will have to follow quarantine procedures at a hotel, recommended by the Government of Sri Lanka (if independent/separate residences are not available), for a period of 14 days, subject to concurrence and supervision of the Heads of Mission.
The Diplomatic Missions/Representations need to inform the MFR once the 14-day home quarantine is completed and submit the second PCR test report done by the Mission before the Officer resumes duties in the Mission under the measures taken by the Mission to control and prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
The Diplomatic Missions/Representations have to forward the travel details of the Diplomatic staff and their family members at least 48 hours prior to their departure to the Chief of Protocol of the Ministry.
“Travel by Diplomatic Officers to Sri Lanka will be approved, subject to their concurrence to follow the above procedures issued by the Government of Sri Lanka,” the MFR said.
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