News Alerts

28 Jun 2020 | 03:47 PM UTC

Sri Lanka: Authorities lift curfew June 28 and extend closure of international airports beyond August 1 /update 18

Sri Lanka News Alert

Authorities lift curfew on June 28 effective immediately and extend the closure of international airports beyond August 1; continue to follow government directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 6/28/2020, 12:00 AM until 8/1/2020, 11:59 PM (Asia/Colombo). COUNTRY/REGION Sri Lanka

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Event

Sri Lanka authorities announced on Sunday, June 28, that the nationwide curfew previously in place in efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been lifted effective immediately. A curfew was initially imposed on March 20, and was shortened again on June 13, limiting all non-essential movement between the hours of 00:00 and 04:00 (local time).

In addition, authorities announced on Sunday that they will be delaying the reopening of its international airport from the scheduled August 1, in order to prioritize repatriating Sri Lankan nationals stranded abroad due to travel restrictions imposed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Colombo International Airport (CMB) was closed and all flights to the country were suspended on March 19 following the outbreak of the virus; authorities were aiming to reopen the country's airports by August 1 after no reported cases of the virus in country since April 30. However, authorities announced on Sunday that they would be prioritizing making arrangements to repatriate Sri Lankan nationals stuck abroad, of which there are approximately 40,000. A PCR test mechanism has reportedly been put in place at Colombo Airport for all those returning to the country; individuals will be required to undergo quarantine of 14-days upon return.

Authorities began reopening the country and easing restrictions mid-May following no reported cases of the virus in country since late April. Inter-provincial and inter-district travel is permitted, except in Colombo and Gampaha where travel remains restricted. Most businesses have reopened and schools are set to reopen in July. Individuals must continue to adhere to social distancing, hygiene measures, and wear face masks in public. Those who violate the guidelines will face fines or arrest.

As of June 28, there are 2034 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka and 11 associated deaths. There have been no reported deaths from the virus since June 1. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.

Context

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) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble 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.

Advice

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 nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 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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