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Diplomat issue at BIA became a learning moment: Colombage

5 June 2020 10:31 pm - 7     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


The incident of a senior US diplomat being given the green light to enter into the country sans a PCR test became a learning moment and resulted in the issuance of revised instructions for diplomats to be followed when arriving in Sri Lanka due to Covid-19, Admiral Professor Jayanath Colombage, the Additional Secretary to the President for Foreign Relations, said today.

Speaking to Daily Mirror, Admiral Professor Colombage said the official approval for the said diplomat to arrive in Sri Lanka was sent on May 26, before PCR tests were made mandatory at the airport.

“We are still learning about COVID-19 and the airport is adapting to changes. When we sent the approval for the diplomat’s arrival, PCR tests were not mandatory at the airport. The diplomat was told back then that he has to undergo quarantine under the Embassy’s supervision and would be subjected to a PCR test. However, the location where the PCR test would be conducted was not specified,” he said.

The PCR tests were made mandatory on arrival at the airport from June 1.

Admiral Professor Colombage said the diplomat was not aware of the new system at the airport.

“Due to this situation, the airport officials faced an issue. After consulting relevant government officials, the airport officials decided to let him go. We learnt a lesson and now we have issued revised instructions for arriving diplomats,” he said.

When asked whether the US Embassy has informed the government of the said diplomat undergoing quarantine at the embassy, Admiral Professor Colombage said, “Yes, it should be so. All embassies have to do so”.  (Lahiru Pothmulla)

  Comments - 7

  • Kingsley Wijesinhe Friday, 05 June 2020 11:05 PM

    Good management means foreseeing situations and putting necessary regulations in place before they occur, not waiting for "learning moments". If diplomatic missions were informed the moment PCR testing at the airport was made mandatory for all arrivals, this unpleasant situation could have been avoided.

    Hari M Friday, 05 June 2020 11:34 PM

    Agree, all events cannot be planned for and anticipated.

    Truth Saturday, 06 June 2020 05:24 PM

    That's not an excuse. This is regarding lives not a video game.

    Roger Galpihilla - Germany Saturday, 06 June 2020 08:10 PM

    Why are ordinary citizens then sent to quarantine centres even without any tests at taxpayers' expense? Was that not anticipated

    Chandana Saturday, 06 June 2020 03:30 PM

    US embassy and top Sri Lankan government officials give different versions of the same story, similar to Akira Kurasowa’s movie “Rashomon“. But if that US diplomat can not respect the exciting quarantine law of this country at the time of landing he should have been sent back to his previous destination.

    Asoka Kuruppu Saturday, 06 June 2020 06:47 PM

    Prez should appoint Tamara K as an adviser as she is well-versed in International Affairs

    RMA Saturday, 06 June 2020 08:40 PM

    this situation is very similar to war criminals travel with diplomatic immunity

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