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30 Mar 2020 | 02:25 AM UTC

Sri Lanka: Authorities extend travel ban on all arriving travelers until April 7 /update 7

Sri Lanka extends entry ban on all arriving travelers until April 7 and lockdown measures to remain in place until further notice on March 29; confirm travel itineraries

entry/exit
health
transportation
LKA

Event

On Saturday, March 28, the Sri Lankan government announced that it will be extending a ban on all arriving travelers, which was due to expire on Tuesday, March 31, to 23:59 (local time) on Tuesday, April 7, as a precautionary measure to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The Civil Aviation Authority added that all international airports in Sri Lanka will be closed for inbound international passenger flights, while cargo and transit flights with outbound passengers will be allowed to continue operations. Authorities have also banned cruise ship passengers from disembarking in Sri Lanka from Tuesday, March 3, until further notice.

Meanwhile, a nationwide curfew remains in place as of Sunday, March 29, until further notice in the districts of Colombo, Gampaha, Puttalam, Kalutura, Kandy, and Jaffna. Individuals in these areas are prohibited from leaving their homes except for essential needs. For all other districts, the curfew will be lifted at 06:00 (local time) on March 30, and reinforced at 14:00 (local time) on the same day. Travel between the districts is strictly prohibited during this period except for individuals providing essential services. 

As of Monday, March 30, health officials have confirmed at least 120 cases of COVID-19 in the country, including one fatality. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.