News Alerts

20 Mar 2020 | 11:49 AM UTC

Sri Lanka: Nationwide curfew implemented March 20-23 /update 5

Sri Lanka News Alert

Government implements a nationwide curfew due to COVID-19 March 20-23; follow authority directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 3/20/2020, 12:00 AM until 3/23/2020, 11:59 PM (Asia/Colombo). COUNTRY/REGION Sri Lanka

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The Sri Lankan authorities announced the implementation of a nationwide curfew starting at 18:00 (local time) on Friday, March 20, until 06:00 on Monday, March 23, as a preventive measure to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Individuals will therefore be prohibited from leaving their homes during that period except for essential needs.

As of March 20, passengers who visited or transited through Iran, Italy, or South Korea in the past 14 days are not allowed to enter the territory. All entry visas are temporarily suspended for citizens of Austria, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Qatar, South Korea, Spain, and Sweden.

Authorities announced on Tuesday, March 17, that all incoming flights will be suspended for two weeks as of 00:01 (local time) on Wednesday, March 18. The ban should remain in effect until Tuesday, March 31.

Authorities banned cruise ship passengers from disembarking in Sri Lanka from Tuesday, March 3 until further notice.

As of Friday, March 20, health officials have confirmed 60 cases of COVID-19 in the country. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) labelled the outbreak as pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone non-essential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.


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