Coronavirus: Sri Lanka reopens to tourists, but limits number of arrivals

Coronavirus: Sri Lanka reopens to tourists, but limits number of arrivals
Coronavirus: Sri Lanka reopens to tourists, but limits number of arrivals

PostedJanuary 21, 2021 at 3:37 PM

The conditions of stay remain strict.

Sri Lanka, which cautiously reopened its doors to foreign tourists on Thursday after ten months of shutting down the sector due to the Covid-19 pandemic, announced that it would limit arrivals to 2,500 per day.

Capping the number of visitors will prevent saturation of coronavirus testing centers, the Tourism Promotion Bureau explained.

“We have set a daily limit of 2,500 tourists to ensure that there are enough PCR tests left for the repatriation of Sri Lankans,” said Director of the Tourism Bureau Kimarli Fernando in the capital Colombo.

Qatar Airways, Emirates and several other airlines are currently operating repatriation and transit flights, having allowed the return of some 40,000 Sri Lankans to the island since the end of July.

Coronavirus contaminations in Sri Lanka have skyrocketed since October, from 3,300 cases and 13 deaths to more than 55,000 cases and 274 deaths today.

“All precautionary measures have been put in place to make the island as healthy, safe and peaceful as possible for visitors,” assured the Tourist Office.

There is no minimum stay required, but tourists are required to present a negative PCR test performed within four days of arrival.

Visitors may, however, only stay in establishments included in a restricted list of 55 hotels and are only allowed to move around the island accompanied by managers during the first two weeks of their stay.

Individuals who have been in Britain in the past two weeks will still not be allowed entry into Sri Lanka, where flights to or through Britain are no longer permitted to prevent the spread of a more transmissible strain of the coronavirus.

Some 2.3 million tourists visited the island in 2018, a record. But the number of foreign visitors fell to 1.9 million the following year, after the bloody Easter 2019 attacks.

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