Tourists from six banned countries have not arrived in Sri Lanka, Minister affirms

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga says that tourists from six banned countries have not arrived in the country in the last 14 days.

Speaking to media after a meeting in Colombo yesterday (27).Minister Prasanna Ranatunga in response to questions raised by journalists said the statistics of the Tourism Development Authority confirms that no tourists have arrived in the island from the six Southern African countries.

Sri Lanka Saturday barred travelers with a travel history (including transit) in the past 14 days to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini, effective from Midnight Sunday, November 28, over concerns about the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The Civil Aviation Authority on the recommendation of the Ministry of Health has informed the relevant airlines about the decision.

The Minister further stated that the relevant departments will look into whether anyone other than tourists has arrived in the country from these countries during the last 14 days and the health authorities will take further action accordingly.

Minister Prasanna Ranatunga emphasized that there is no barrier for tourists from other countries to enter the country except for the relevant countries, adding that authorities will check whether the passengers have visited the barred countries when issuing visas.

Responding to a question raised by a journalist as to what policy is being followed regarding those who come to watch international matches, including the upcoming cricket matches in Sri Lanka, the Minister said that those who have been fully vaccinated can come to Sri Lanka to watch those matches.

However, the Minister He said further action would be taken in this regard in consultation with the health sector on their recommendations

“Many countries around the world are now organizing international sports events, conferences and meetings, even under the Covid status. Nearly 90% of the country’s population has been vaccinated so far. But it is everyone’s responsibility to be safe from Covid. Therefore, the government intends to protect the people and maintain the country under the new normalization program in accordance with the health recommendations,” the Minister said.

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