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Sri Lanka revokes ban on arrivals from gulf countries, allows hotel quarantine

Sri Lanka has hastily lifted a temporary ban the country was to impose on inbound passengers from six gulf countries, barely 24 hours after it was announced.

The ban, announced Monday (29), was to be in effect from July 1 to 13 on the grounds of COVID-19 PCR authenticity as infections among returnees spiked.

A new directive issued June 30 says passengers from the six countries – Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait – are permitted to arrive subject to mandatory hotel quarantine or travel through Sri Lanka Tourism’s “bio bubble route”.

The ban was to be imposed as returnees tested positive for COVID-19 on arrival despite airlines clearing the necessary documents of the passengers.

In the new circular published on June 30, Sri Lanka’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) says it has revoked the restriction on the said countries but has imposed the following six conditions for travelers and airlines to adhere to until further notice:

– All arriving passengers must have a negative PCR Test obtained within 96 hours prior to departure. The airline must ensure this before boarding passengers.

– Antigen tests cannot be accepted as a pre-departure test for boarding.

– PCR test must be presented from a government-approved hospital/laboratory in the respective Country with a QR Code/Bar Code.

– Airlines must satisfy themselves of the authenticity of the test reports presented by the passengers.

– Passengers are permitted to arrive only for Hotel Quarantine or through the Sri Lanka Tourism Bio Bubble Route.

An official at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) said that the airlines have been tasked with the responsibility of verifying the documents before they take passengers onboard. 


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