Government considering review of PCR policy for business travellers

The Government is considering a review of the policy on PCR tests for business travellers.

Army Commander General Shavendra Silva said health authorities are looking at the option of introducing a new PCR testing system.

The new system being considered is to release local businessmen who travel overseas in a secure manner without undergoing mandatory quarantine upon their return.

A number of local businessmen, from the apparel and other key industries, have requested the Government to consider amending the quarantine process for those travelling overseas for business purposes.

He said some international investors too require to travel to the country, and their travels are between 24- 48 hours during which they hold discussions and depart.

The Army Commander pointed out that businessmen are not keen on undergoing mandatory quarantine for 14-days every time they travel to Sri Lanka or return from overseas.

Local businessmen from the apparel and other industries had also pointed out that some require to travel overseas twice or more per month, and as such, undergoing a 14- quarantine was not practical for every travel.

He said calls to amend the PCR test process for businessmen was raised previously following multiple requests from various local and international businessmen.

Army Commander General Shavendra Silva said a discussion was held on the matter under the patronage of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

He said the President has instructed the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 (NOCP), and health authorities to review the procedure and take necessary measures to enable business travels in the future.

Director General of Health Services Dr. Asela Gunawardena has been instructed to review the procedure together with the Health Ministry’s expert committee on COVID-19.

The Army Commander further said the Government will discuss ways in which international businessmen could be allowed to enter the country in a travel bubble during the coronavirus pandemic.

He said steps will also be taken to ensure that Sri Lankan businessmen are also allowed to travel overseas in a travel bubble during this period.

The Head of the NOCPC said a decision in this regard will be drawn during a meeting of the NOCP and health authorities held today.

General Shavendra Silva said the decision will most likely be implemented within next week, on the advise of the President. (Colombo Gazette)