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31 Jan 2020 | 01:22 AM UTC

Sri Lanka: Arrival and departure lobbies closed at Colombo’s airport January 31 /update 1

Airport authorities close arrival and departures lobbies at Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) due to coronavirus outbreak; only traveling passengers allowed in terminal building

entry/exit
transportation
LKA

Event

Officials at Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) servicing Colombo indefinitely closed the arrival and departure lobbies on Friday, January 31, due to the ongoing novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. According to CMB officials, only traveling passengers will be allowed inside the terminal building until further notice. As of Friday, one case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Sri Lanka. Earlier on Tuesday, January 28, the government suspended its visa upon arrival program for Chinese travelers, who must now apply for a visa using an online portal prior to travel.

Further international spread of the 2019-nCoV virus is to be expected over the coming days and weeks. Additional travel interruptions and screening measures at travel hubs are also likely in the short term.

Context

The first case of 2019-nCoV was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan. 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.

As of January 30, cases of the virus have been reported in Australia, Canada, Cambodia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, the US, and Vietnam. Human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in Germany, Japan, the US, and Vietnam. Virus screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored 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

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments. Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:

  • Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold
  • Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)
  • Frequently wash hands and wear a face mask
  • Individuals within China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention, avoid contact with other people, and wash hands regularly
  • Adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments
  • Travelers returning from China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spread of the disease