Sri Lanka reopens to the world (but Brits still banned)


Travellers will be subject to strict Covid-19 regulations in Sri Lanka.


Sri Lanka will be reopening its borders to the world this week following a ten month hiatus.


The country will be open to international tourist arrivals from January 21 following a ‘pilot’ visit by a group of 1,700 Ukranian tourists last month to test Sri Lanka’s Covid-19 protocols.


Sri Lanka is also currently hosting the England cricket team who are playing a two-Test series behind closed doors.


Rigorous regulations mean visitors must take a Covid-19 test no more than four days before travel and another on arrival. Two further tests will be required for a seven-day stay and three tests for holidays longer than a week.


Visitors must stay in one of 55 designated hotels and will be accompanied by officials when visiting approved tourist sites. They will also be required to pay US$12 for insurance to cover up to US$50,000 in Covid-related medical costs. If a visitor tests positive at any point during their trip, they will be required to isolate in their hotel room and will be transported to hospital if necessary.


However, importantly there is no quarantine, no minimum number of days required for a stay and visitors are free to use all hotel facilities.


There are currently no exceptions for visitors who have received the coronavirus vaccine.


“As we open our doors to the world once again, we have pulled out all the stops, ensuring that every precautionary measure has been set in place to make the island getaway as safe, secure and serene as possible for visitors,” said the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau in a statement.


Sri Lanka is a popular holiday destination but first faced a drop in tourism following the Easter terrorist bombings in 2019 which killed 269 people. The coronavirus pandemic forced the country to shut-off its borders in early 2020 after its first Covid-19 case was confirmed in late January 2020. It has since been relatively successful in containing the virus, recording around 53,000 infections and 270 deaths since the pandemic began.


Flights from the United Kingdom remain banned and visitors will not be allowed to enter Sri Lanka if they have spent up to two weeks in Britain before arriving.


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