Arrivals from countries adjoining South Africa banned: Extending quarantine period to 21 days yet to be discussed

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Travellers from countries adjoining South Africa such as Zimbabwe are banned from entering Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) said. The SLTDA, speaking to The Sunday Morning Business, said that this decision was taken in the wake of the new Covid-19 variant known as the Delta variant.

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“Travellers from India, South Africa, and the entirety of the South American continent were banned from entering Sri Lanka as of 5 June,” SLTDA Director General Dhammika Wijesinghe said. “This new variant has made us even more vigilant, and so the decision to ban travellers from India, South Africa, and the entire South American continent was taken at the beginning of this month. During a recent meeting we also took the decision to ban travellers from countries adjoining South Africa, such as Zimbabwe.”

This measure also applies to travellers who recently transited through airports in the affected countries.

When the world was still struggling in the clutches of the Alpha variant of Covid-19, a new variant – dubbed the Delta Variant – was discovered in India and was considered a more transmissible version of the disease. This variant was detected in Sri Lanka recently with five cases from Dematagoda and another suspected case reported in Madiwela, Colombo.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) the Delta variant is considered to be the stronger version.

By the third week of June 2021 over 2,000 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in a period of 24 hours. Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi speaking at Parliament on Wednesday (23) said that 135 patients are currently receiving treatments in the Intensive Care Units. However, the numbers are feared to be much worse than what was disclosed by the Government.

The SriLankan Airlines emergency news detail stated: “Passengers will be permitted to arrive at Sri Lanka’s international Airports with effect from 0000hrs (Local time in SL) on 01 June 2021 subject to the following restrictions until further notice:

Each incoming flight can carry only a maximum of 75 passengers in total.  

The above limitation does not apply to passengers arriving via the Sri Lanka Tourism Bio Bubble Route holding tourist visas, resident visas, and dual citizens.

Passengers with a travel history (including transit) in the past 14 days from India, Vietnam, South Africa, and countries in South America are not permitted to disembark in Sri Lanka.

All arriving passengers will be subject to a 14-day quarantine period.”

Wijesinghe further added that the standing committee has not made any decision with regard to increasing the quarantine period for travellers from 14 days to 21 days.

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