Jan 28, Colombo: Sri Lanka has taken measures to cancel the “On arrival visa’ facility for tourists from China with immediate effect, the Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said. She said the decision taken on the advice of the President will be in effect until further notice.
Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine, Women and Child Affairs and Social Security Pavithra Wanniarachchi and members of the National Action Committee appointed to prevent the spread of coronavirus visited the Bandaranaike International Airport at Katunayake last night look into the steps taken to control the coronavirus.
The Minister of Health inspected the functioning of the Airport Health Unit and the performance of the body temperature screening machines set up at the airport to identify the infected passengers.
Speaking to the media after the observation visit, the Minister said modern equipment has been installed at the airport to check the body temperature of the arriving passengers to determine whether they have contracted the coronavirus.
Once the infected passengers are identified they will be taken to the Infectious disease Hospital in specially deployed ambulances. Subsequently these patients are detained separately and required examinations are being carried out. Additional medical staff have been deployed to screen arriving passengers.
For passengers arriving from China, a separate entrance and a location have been assigned and each passenger is checked individually by the medical staff at the airport. The Medical Association has agreed to provide with additional doctors, Minister Wanniarachchi said adding that if any passenger is identified to have an elevated body temperature, and measures are in place and medical staff is ready to treat the passenger at the airport.
The Minister assured that the Ministry of health and the Airport and Aviation Authority have taken every possible step to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the country. She added that she is satisfied about the measures taken at the airport to check each individual passenger.
Speaking about the Chinese nationals, Minister Wanniarachchi said the Chinese tourists are usually granted on arrival visas. However, following discussions with the National Action Committee appointed by the President and the Controller of Immigration and Emigration, and on the instructions of the President, the on-arrival visa facility at the airport will be suspended for Chinese nationals until further notice.
The Chinese tourists have to apply for visa in China before they depart to Sri Lanka and need to indicate the Province from which they are coming, the Minister said.
Secretary to Health Ministry Bhadrani Jayawardena, Director General of Health Services Specialist Dr. Anil Jasingha, Chairman of the Airport Company, general GA Chandrasiri, Additional Secretary (Public Health) Mrs. Lakshmi Somathunga and Chairman of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation Dr. Nihal Jayatilleka and several others were present