Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) equipped with new advanced PCR-Testing machines (an RNA/DNA extractor and two light cyclers) and 39,000 COVID RT-PCR test kits.
November 26, 2020
Government of Switzerland and IOM scale up efforts to support repatriation of Sri Lankan migrant workers.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many migrant workers across the world remain stranded in transit and destination countries due to travel restrictions and reduced repatriation opportunities. Currently, close to 40,000 Sri Lankan migrant workers will be supported to return to the country by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) over the coming months. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has assisted GoSL in improving the COVID-19 testing facility at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA). This facility at the Point of Entry can help GoSL in bringing back migrants safely as well as in opening the airport for tourists in due course. The project is funded by the Government of Switzerland.
The project aims to expedite the resumption of repatriating migrant workers by equipping BIA with new advanced PCR-Testing machines (an RNA/DNA extractor and two light cyclers) and 39,000 COVID RT-PCR test kits. The advanced equipment is the first of its kind in Sri Lanka, and the newly installed machines have significantly increased BIA’s testing capacity by enabling up to 1,300 PCR tests a day, with a turnaround time of approximately four hours. This would not only improve passengers’ convenience, but also further reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
The Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited (AASL) has provided the space all other required facilities setting up the laboratory facility at BIA. “It is a true reflection of the strong partnership between MoH, AASL and IOM, and we appreciate the Government of Switzerland’s support and as the Civil Airport Operator, AASL has been taking every possible measure to support the government’s mission”, said Maj. General (Rtd) G.A. Chandrasiri, chairman of AASL, at the reception of equipment at the PCR laboratory at BIA.