Sri Lanka Reopens Airports and Borders With New COVID-19 Testing Requirements

By Meena Thiruvengadam

Jan 23, 2021

SRI LANKA HAS REOPENED TO FOREIGN TOURISTS after closing its airports and borders in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

International visitors, however, won’t be free to roam the island nation as they please until at least seven days after arrival.

Sri Lanka is requiring travelers to test negative for COVID-19 within 96 hours of their departure, upon arrival, and again seven days after landing in the country, the Associated Press reports. Those wanting to remain in Sri Lanka for longer than seven days will have to take a third COVID-19 test.

The Sri Lankan government also is mandating visitors to obtain at least US$50,000 in travel insurance.

Travelers won’t have to quarantine in their hotel rooms, but they will need to stay within a government-designated travel bubble and at a government-approved hotel. Among the options is Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle, an idyllic beachfront paradise with accommodation options that include big beach-view villas with pools.

In addition to using hotel gyms, pools and spas, international travelers to Sri Lanka will be allowed to visit national parks, go on safari, and explore popular attractions like the Sigiriya Fortress. They won’t, however, be permitted to mingle with locals until at least 14 days after their arrival.

The government tested its approach in December with 1,500 tourists from Ukraine, according to the AP.

Sri Lanka closed its borders in March after detecting local coronavirus clusters stemming from a garment factory and fish market in Colombo, the AP reports. According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, Sri Lanka has since reported more than 55,000 COVID-19 cases and 274 deaths.

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