No Change In Covid Entry Rules Despite Raging Chinese Wave
BY Mirudhula Thambiah
Covid-19 related guidelines on tourists entering Sri Lanka would remain unchanged for the time being, despite a rapidly spreading wave of the virus in China, one of Sri Lanka’s largest tourism markets.
Speaking to The Daily Morning yesterday (22), Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Chairman Priantha Fernando said that the Covid-19 guidelines would remain the same as those issued by the Ministry of Health.
“There was a discussion last week among officials of the Ministry of Health and the tourism industry. It was decided that the guidelines would remain unchanged,” he said.
He noted that the Ministry of Health had indicated that there was no reason to be alarmed regarding the spread of the new Covid variants at present, and that it is monitoring the situation closely and would release updated instructions as the need arises.
Although there were initial decisions made to impose new guidelines on 17 January, it was later postponed to 20 January.
Health Ministry Communications Director and Deputy Director General of Health Services Dr. Hemantha Herath noted that the public needs to be regularly advised to wear facemasks and, although not mandatory, that there are certain actions that need to be followed.
He further said that any new actions with regard to the above should only be initiated once costs and benefits are determined.
Earlier, Dr. Herath said that though there will not be any special arrangements made to handle Chinese tourists, health officials would continue with their surveillance of Covid-19 cases by subjecting symptomatic patients to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.
“Symptomatic Chinese travellers will be tested for Covid-19,” he said.
The Health Ministry, on 7 December, relaxed Covid-19 restrictions that were in force for inbound travellers. Tourists were thus no longer required to produce a vaccination certificate and PCR test on arrival.