New health guidelines issued for tourists visiting Sri Lanka

New COVID-19 health guidelines have been issued to be followed by tourists visiting Sri Lanka from 21 January, 2021.

The Tourism Ministry said the new guidelines have been issued by Director General of Health Services Dr. Asela Gunawardena.

The Ministry said the 14-point guideline has been issued in line with the reopening of the Katunayake and Mattala airports for foreign tourists from 21 January.

As per the guidelines, all tourists will arrive at the Katunayake and Mattala airports, with flights being directed based on the testing capacity at the airports.

Dual citizens or Sri Lankan spouses of foreign passport holders, and any paid commercial passengers with foreign passports will be permitted to visit Sri Lanka by following the guidelines. Those arriving on business visas have been excluded from the guidelines.

Visas will be granted to all countries unless specifically mentioned otherwise. Tourists are required to pay additional costs for two PCR tests and the Covid insurance will be levied, apart from Visa fees.

It is mandatory for tourists to pay for two PCR tests if the visit is up to 07-days or three PCR tests if the visit exceeds 07-days. Covid-19 insurance cover for the period of one month is mandatory and could be paid for through the Tourism development Authority App.

Prior to boarding, tourists are required to provide a negative PCR report 76-hours before boarding, a health declaration, and a mandatory insurance cover for at least Rs. 5 million.

The guidelines allow tourists to stay in more than one safe and secure certified hotel during their initial 14-days, provided the arrival PCR test is negative. During this period, tourists will be permitted to move within the hotel and designated tourist attractions.

Tourists will be allowed to interact with the community after completing 14-days at a certified safe and secure level -1 hotel, provided their PCR test results are negative.

The new Covid guidelines makes it mandatory for the tourist to obtain a negative PCR report within 96- hours prior to departure.

Tourists will be subjected PCR tests upon arrival and prior to checking into their pre-booked hotel. The second PCR test will be conducted 5-7 days after arrival. In the event of an extended stay, a PCR test will be conducted between 10-14 days of the extension.

The guidelines prohibit tourist groups from being mixed while being transported to attraction sites, while the travel agent should be in possession of an advanced transportation plan.

Unless attending to the tourists in full PPE kits, all those involved in the program will be subjected to mandatory 14-days quarantine.

Tourists have been advised to make pre-confirmed bookings of hotels prior to their arrival in Sri Lanka, while hotels have been permitted to operate under a 75% room capacity.

As per the guidelines, asymptomatic tourists will be isolated in a private area within the hotel, while symptomatic patients will be admitted to private hospitals approved by the Health Ministry.

All tourists will be allowed to visit permitted tourist sites on a daily basis, under allocated time slots, and only in a bio safety bubble.

The time period allocated for tourists will be published on the Tourism Development Authority website to avoid the risk of mingling with locals. (Colombo Gazette)

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