Former Swiss diplomat praises Lanka’s quarantine process | Daily News

Former Swiss diplomat praises Lanka’s quarantine process

Former diplomat from Switzerland Rudolf Albert Gauhl hailed the professional manner in which SriLankan Airlines and airport authorities quarantined people coming from overseas back to Sri Lanka.

Gauhl who was a top Embassy representative of Switzerland serving in Sri Lanka for nearly two decades said that he was so impressed about Sri Lanka that he decided to settle down in Sri Lanka after retiring from his diplomatic duties with his wife Hui.

In a bid to give back to Sri Lanka he set a Bright Light Foundation and was engaged in several CSR activities to help the underprivileged Sri Lankans.

He recalled that in mid-February this year they left for Switzerland in order to take part in the Lucerne Carnival. “The big bang and the carnival parades were great as always and the city of Lucerne shook and the carnival people experienced the best days of the year.”

However the corona pandemic moved around the world like a dark shadow with lockdowns and airlines after airlines stopped their flights.

“Airports all over the world closed indefinitely and our planned return flight was suddenly cancelled for an indefinite period. We were therefore blocked in Lucerne and my only hope was that at some point a window would open and a return journey to my host country Sri Lanka would appear.”

This window opened on September 25 when, thanks to the help of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Berlin and the Honorary Consulate in Zurich, we were suddenly offered a direct flight from Frankfurt to Colombo by SriLankan Airlines. (UL1506) Some foreigners and a large number of Sri Lankan citizens, who were blocked for months after visiting their families because of Covid-19, were already waiting eagerly for returning to their home land.

“After the usual checking of the documents, we were accompanied to the cabin individually, keeping a safe distance. The stewardesses, masked from head to toe, insisted on receiving us with the unmistakable "Smile of Sri Lanka" despite the uncomfortable outfit.”

The safety distance between the seats and the mask requirement also applied in the cabin. Dinner and breakfast were served in one-way service boxes and there was water served. After a perfect landing in Colombo the passengers were taken to Immigration and a compulsory PCR test followed.”

“Later our disinfected travel bags were checked by Customs and a scheduled AC bus brought us to the Jetwing Sea Hotel Negombo to undergo a compulsory 14 day quarantine.”

The army itself has made available accommodation free of charge. During quarantine time, an additional PCR test was carried out after the 10th day of our stay. Guests will only be released if the test is negative.”

He said that strict precautionary measures applied in the hotel itself. “No third person was allowed to enter the guest's room. The body temperature was measured twice a day by a doctor and the guests were asked about their health condition.”

Delicious food was served in one-way boxes which were deposited in front of the room door after prior notification. The consumption of alcohol is not permitted during this time.”

“We believe that this entire process was done very systematically to world standards and this should be highly lauded.”

It’s this professional pattern initiated by the government, tri forces and the health authorities that is still keeping the Covid patient count under 5,000 and most importantly death at 13.

Sri Lanka's outstanding success story in relation to the fight against Covid-19 deserves world attention and we would like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate the Government for this achievement.In our case, a very special thank goes to the honorary consul of Sri Lanka in Zurich, the Stewardess from SriLankan Airlines and Dr. M. Abusayed, coordinator of the repatriation program in Colombo, who is a great support for many returnees in the airport through his commitment.