Lankans in Italy, S Korea unaffected | Sunday Observer

Lankans in Italy, S Korea unaffected

The COVID-19 epidemic has pushed hot global topics such as terrorism, climate change and Brexit to the back-burner, bringing the world pandemic to world attention.

With 83,652 infected patients and 2,858 deaths reported in 51 countries including China, is a huge challenge to the world.

Sri Lanka despite having strong immigration and migration ties with the Mainland China, had only one COVID -19 patient and the country received accolades for managing the patient to recovery.

South Korea and Italy two countries where many Sri Lankans live have reported the highest number of confirmed cases outside China.

According to World Heath Organization (WHO), South Korea has identified 2,337 patients, with 571 new cases, highest in the region after China.

There have been 13 deaths reported from South Korea while Italy had the most number of confirmed cases in the Europe with 650 patients. So far 17 deaths have been reported from Italy particularly in the Lombardy region.

South Korea

In South Korea there are more than 20,000 Sri Lankans with 915 of them living in Daegu, a COVID-19 hot spot. The Sri Lankan Embassy in Seoul announced last week that all measures are being taken for their safety.

“Hotlines operated by the Embassy are currently functional on a round-the-clock basis along with a Help Desk in order to respond to the needs of the Sri Lankan community. Two social media groups have been established and the Mission is in contact with Sri Lankan temples, community leaders and all others concerned” the Embassy stated in a statement.

The country representative of Human Resources Development (HRD) Services of Korea, Kim Won Seok told the Sunday Observer yesterday that the situation in South Korea is not dangerous and Sri Lankans in Korea are engaged in their day to day activities.

“I am consistently in contact with our agency in Korea. So far no Sri Lankan has been found with the infection.

Due to the outbreak,we haven’t abandoned or reduced our program. We operate as usual and keep sending Sri Lankan workers to Korea continuously,”he said.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sri Lanka announced last week that diplomatic missions in both countries are proactively taking measures to stop the spread of the virus among any Sri Lankans.

“Approximately 60 percent of Sri Lankans are in the Lombardy region. The Missions are presently communicating with the health authorities in these regions and are in contact with Sri Lankan Temples, community leaders and all others concerned” the Ministry announced last week.


The Sri Lankan Embassy in Italy has also instructed the Sri Lankan community in Italy to stop staying at crowded places as much as possible. Also they have introduced 24/7 hotlines for the community to reach the embassy in an emergency.

Ajantha Perera, a Sri Lankan based in Treviso, Italy told the Sunday Observer that, day to day life in Italy is pretty much the same except for social life which they have restricted following the news of the outbreak.

“No coronavirus infection has been reported among the Sri Lankan community in Italy. We were given a few hotlines by the Sri Lankan Embassy in Rome and the Consular General office in Milan, to inform them of situations needing attention,” Perera said.

There are more than 104,000 Sri Lankans in Italy, making them the 12th largest non-European community living in Italy.

“Ten cities are locked down for quarantine purposes and about 25 Sri Lankan families live in those cities,” Perera said.

As supermarkets and pharmacies in those cities are open there is no scarcity of food and medicine.