As a gesture of goodwill to support and appreciate the contribution being made by the National Health Service (NHS) UK which is at the frontline saving lives during the Covid-19 pandemic, a donation of Ceylon tea and disposable gloves to the staff of the NHS UK was made by Sri Lanka to coincide with the International Tea Day.
The Sri Lanka Tea Board and six leading tea producers in Sri Lanka, namely, Vintage Teas Ceylon Ltd, English Tea Shop, Tea Trends Export Ltd, Dilmah Ceylon Tea, Mlesna Ceylon Ltd, Stassen International Pvt Ltd, and manufacturer of disposal gloves Dipped Products Ltd of the Hayleys Group contributed to this generous donation.
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The UK Home Office has published the latest guidance about visa extensions for persons in the UK with leave expiring between 24 January and 31 July 2020 and new health measures at the UK border which are due to be implemented on 8 June 2020.
UK visa holders in the UK with leave expiring before 31 July 2020 are now able to extend their visas to 31 July 2020. This builds on the previous extension which lasted until 31 May 2020. For those who have already had their leave extended to 31 May no further action is required, their leave will be automatically extended.
The UK Home Office has announced that while this extension has been offered to help those who are unable to return to their home countries prior to 31 July, those currently in the UK on temporary visas, such as visitor visas, should return home as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.
Entering the UK:
All arriving passengers will be required to fill in a contact locator form to provide contact and travel information so they can be contacted if they, or someone they may have been in contact with develops the disease.
Border Force officers will undertake spot checks at the border. Those found not to have completed the online form will be asked to. If they refuse, they may receive a Fixed Penalty Notice of £100 in England.
The UK Government will also require all those entering the UK, who are not on an approved list of exemptions, to self-isolate in their accommodation for fourteen days from arrival into the UK.
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Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha has called on migrant workers as well as students and parents, to carefully calibrate the effect repatriation at this time could have on their jobs and education, before making decisions to seek to return to Sri Lanka, availing of the limited flights being operated by the Government for those facing compelling circumstances. He made this observation yesterday (16 May 2020) in an appearance on the ‘News at 9’ on Sri Lanka Rupavahini, where he noted that over 38,000 Sri Lankans are seeking to be repatriated, of that nearly 28,000 migrant workers. The comments made by the Secretary are below;
Priority right now of the Government following the Cabinet Paper presented by my Minister Dinesh Gunawardena two weeks ago, is to bring back the migrant worker category which needs to come, but more so in some cases have to come. Because they have gone out of status and are illegal, they also as a result of being illegal do not have access to the health facilities and anything else in those countries. There are many who have been thrown out of jobs. They are pretty much destitute. Thereafter we can consider those who want to come, but who have jobs and who simply want to come on holiday to avoid any Corona vulnerability. » Read more
The attention of the Ministry is drawn to a quiz titled “Travel quiz: do you know your islands, Man Friday?” published on the web edition of The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom on Friday, 15 May 2020. The second question reads -‘Eelam is an indigenous name for which popular holiday island?’
Among the answers to this question, Sri Lanka has been listed as one of the choices and when one selects Sri Lanka as the answer, whilst indicating it as the correct answer, a further description ‘the full name of the island’s recent military insurgency was LTTE – Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam’ appears.
The High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom wrote to the Editor of the Guardian newspaper on the inaccuracy of this information requesting that the content be removed.
Ministry of Foreign Relations
16 May 2020
The Ministry of Foreign Relations handed over Rs. 27.7 million to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday (May 14th), raised through the network of Sri Lanka Missions overseas, to support COVID-19 Health Care and Social Security Fund.
Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha handed over the cheque to the President, in the presence of the Minister of Foreign Relations Dinesh Gunawardena at the Presidential Secretariat.
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We wish to inform the public that our 24 hour hotlines +447448063261 and +447466770612 and the telephone number +447424162500 introduced for emergency consular assistance will cease to function from Monday, 18 May 2020.
Our general telephone number +44 2072621841 is now functional and the public is requested to use this number to contatct us.
High Commission of Sri Lanka in London, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Relations, the Presidential Secretariat and SriLankan Airlines repatriated the first group of Sri Lankan students in the UK who had registered with the High Commission expressing their desire to return to Sri Lanka in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic on 03 May 2020 by flight UL 504.
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