Sri Lanka bans travellers from India due to COVID-19 surge

Sri Lankan municipal health workers collect swab samples from people for COVID-19 test in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on May 5, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AP

Travellers from India will not be permitted to disembark in Sri Lanka with immediate effect, Sri Lanka’s Civil Aviation Authority has said.

The decision, made known on Thursday, has been taken in accordance with the instructions received from the Ministry of Health, officials said, effectively suspending a bilateral travel bubble arrangement between the two countries.

The restrictions will be reviewed “as soon as possible”.

Although authorities had earlier announced that the travel bubble would be suspended due to the COVID-19 surge in India, the Ministry of Tourism subsequently said the “bubble” was in place, with strict health protocols and quarantine requirements.

Sri Lanka is looking to open up its tourism sector, which took a severe beating in the pandemic year, and India has been a top source market for the island.

However, days later, the Civil Aviation Authority appears to have revised the decision on passengers from India.

The move comes after several countries, including the U.S. and the U.K., imposed travel restrictions on those travelling from and to India, in the wake of the escalating COVID-19 crisis in India.

On May 5, India reported over four lakh new COVID-19 cases, for the second time since the outbreak, and 3,971 deaths, the highest single-day toll recorded in the country so far.

Sri Lanka is witnessing a relative spike in cases this month. On Wednesday, the Health Promotion Bureau recorded 1,939 cases and 14 deaths, taking the country’s death toll to 734.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 8:20:44 AM |

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