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Updated comment by Spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Relations

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Further to the Ministry comment yesterday (14 March 2020), regarding one of the family members of an officer of the Foreign Relations Ministry being diagnosed with COVID -19, and the series of precautionary measures taken to avoid and minimize the possible risk of transmission of the virus, the Ministry wishes to update the following:

It is firmly asserted that the Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and members of the Sri Lanka delegation to the recent Human Rights Council Meeting in Geneva had only interacted with the Foreign Ministry official concerned prior to the officer’s sole contact with the affected family member who was already travelling in Europe on a private engagement, during the period of 29 Feb - 1 March 2020.

Minister Gunawardena has also not come in to contact with the said officer, following the officer’s own return to Colombo on 8th March 2020. 

The officer concerned had arrived at the Ministry only on one working day during the week starting 9th March which was prior to the return of the infected family member to Colombo which happened a few days later from the officer’s arrival. 

Nevertheless, as a precautionary step, all staff who have come in to contact with the officer concerned, during this one working day last week, staff and family members residing in the Ministry quarters where the officer and family member reside and the staff of the Geneva Permanent Mission where the officer concerned was working during the previous 2 weeks, have been advised to ‘self-quarantine’. 

Further action has been taken to disinfect the relevant areas of the Ministry and the quarters.  

Presently the Ministry official is in good health. 

The Ministry will continue to monitor and assess the situation to ensure the safety of its staff, its visitors and the general public. 

Ministry of Foreign Relations                                                                                                                                                                                     


15 March 2020