Sri Lanka on Thursday announced that all arrivals from India will be banned with immediate effect due to the record rise in COVID-19 cases in the neighbouring country.
Several countries like the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Australia and Singapore have already banned travellers from India as well as other South Asian countries.
The civil aviation authority on Thursday said that travellers from India will not be allowed to disembark in Sri Lanka. The decision has been taken as the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly in India.
The director general civil aviation in a letter to the CEO of the national carrier Srilankan Airlines has said, "in accordance with instructions received from health authorities of Sri Lanka due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, it is hereby directed that passengers travelling from India will not be permitted to disembark in Sri Lanka with immediate effect."
Sri Lanka is currently experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, nearly 2,000 new cases have been reported during each of the last 5 days up from average 200 per day up until mid April.
Described as the New Year cluster coming from the traditional New Year festivities mid April, the current wave is from the fast spreading UK variant, the health authorities said.
Sri Lanka had functioned as a transit hub for Indians visiting other destinations like West Asia and Singapore prior to which they needed to be quarantined for 14 days. This was an arrangement by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.
The Sri Lankan tourism authorities were to continue receiving Indian tourists under a travel bubble for which special facilities were set up. This was despite the current difficult situation in India.
However, Sri Lanka’s Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has issued instructions to allow Sri Lankan migrant workers to return to the country.
Last week the Sri Lankan Navy announced as a COVID containment measure that they had increased surveillance of north and northeastern seas to check the possibility of infected Indian fishermen crossing the international waters and making contacts with the locals.
New coronavirus cases and deaths in India hit a record daily high with 4,12,262 new infections and 3,980 fatalities being reported, taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 2,10,77,410 and the death toll to 2,30,168, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Thursday.