Sept 28, Colombo: Fully vaccinated tourists and Sri Lankans having an negative PCR test result at the point of embarkation will no longer need to get a PCR test at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), Health Ministry said announcing new guidelines for domestic and foreign passengers effective from midnight today.
Accordingly, it has been decided to allow fully vaccinated domestic and foreign passengers arriving in Sri Lanka from October 1 to leave for their destinations without having to undergo another PCR test on arrival at the local airport, if they are tested negative for a PCR Test at the point of embarkation.
The relevant decision was taken in this regard by the Technical Committee and disclosed at a discussion held at the Ministry of Health this evening (28) under the patronage of the Minister of Health Dr. Keheliya Rambukwella.
The discussion was held at the request of the Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga and was attended by senior officials of the Ministries of Health and Tourism and representatives of various organizations engaged in the field of tourism.
Foreign visitors who have not been fully vaccinated will be given the opportunity to visit their hotel in a bio-bubble and a PCR test will be done there, Director General of Health Services Dr. Asela Gunawardena said.
But for unvaccinated Sri Lankans, if the results of a PCR test done at the airport or the hotel where they are staying is negative they have the opportunity to go home and they will be self-quarantined and subjected to a PCR test at their home on the 12th day after arrival. If the test is negative, they are allowed to enter the society.
Director General of Health Services also points out that those who do not have home quarantine facilities can be quarantined for 14 days at government quarantine centers or at a hotel of their choice and be reintegrated into society.
A circular in this regard is to be issued and it will come into force from October 01.
At present, passengers arriving in the country have to take a PCR test 72 hours before departure. They will only be able to fly if the test results are negative for the coronavirus.
At present, fully vaccinated passengers arrive in Sri Lanka two weeks after complete vaccination are subjected to a PCR test on arrival in Sri Lanka. They will be allowed to enter the society only if they are negative for coronavirus.
The Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella stated that the protection of the people in the event of a disaster is more important than anything else and that the safety of the citizen as well as the health system is beyond any obstacle.
Therefore, a number of rules and regulations were followed, but a number of decisions were taken by re-examining the current situation and incorporating the decisions taken by the health chiefs, the Minister said. He also pointed out that the gradual opening of the country within certain limits is an essential factor.
The Minister of Health said that the tourism sector, which provides US $ 4.5 million annually as one of the leading foreign exchange earning sectors in the country, will be given the opportunity to ensure the safety of citizens on the advice of the legal framework and the health sector.
The Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism S. Hettiarachchi said that the decisions taken on the Covid disaster are important not only for the tourism industry but also for the country’s economy.
This is among the new guidelines issued for local and foreign tourists who arrive in Sri Lanka 14 days after being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
In a press release, the Ministry of Health stated that if a tourist tests negative for COVID-19 in a PCR test carried out at the time of departure in his or her country of origin, they will not be subjected to another PCR test at the local airport (BIA or Mattala).
Secretary to the Ministry of Health Major General Dr. Sanjeewa Munasinghe, Dr. Kumari Weerasekera, Secretary to the Ministry of Rural and Ayurvedic Hospital Development, Dr. Asela Gunawardena, Director General of Health Services, Dhammika Wijesinghe, Director General of the Tourism Development Authority and Dr. Dhammika Abeygunawardena, Commissioner of Ayurveda were also present at the discussion.
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