Impact of COVID-19 in the Sri Lankan tourism industry

So far there have been 1206 COVID-19 patients (as of 26/05/20) reported in Sri Lanka. 712 COVID-19 recoveries and 10 deaths since February, while the number of active cases is at 460.

Imported COVID cases in Sri Lanka

Nearly 150 COVID-19 patients were identified over the last 2 days from the quarantine centres, who arrived from Kuwait and Dubai. At the moment the most numbers of Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 patients are from the Navy camp of Welisara (Colombo). A large number of COVID-19 patients have been discovered from the Welisara Navy camp, the number is standing at more than 600. The residents of the camp have been confined within the camp in view of eliminating the risk of creeping the virus into society. Some of the navy men have been transferred to COVID-19 quarantine centres.

No COVID-19 patient from society for more than 4 weeks as of 26th May

No COVID-19 patient was identified sofar from the civil society after April 30th. According to health officials, the risk of COVID-19 is minimized on the island. However, according to the epidemiology department of Sri Lanka, there is a risk of spreading CORONA Virus within the island, if the people neglect the health guidelines issued by the government. The general public is advised to stick to social distancing.

Sri Lanka is back on track after COVID-19 curfew

According to the information, the island is back to about 60% of the pre-COVID level. The gradual normalcy of civilian life is seen over the last few weeks with the removal of curfew in certain parts of the island. The curfew is further relaxed over the entire island including Colombo from 26th May. With relaxed curfew, public transportation is also increased their services with the maximum number of buses and trains, in order to serve the increasing number of passengers.

Most sectors of the economy such as transportation, construction, agriculture and services are in operation in the backdrop of health guidelines. However, tourist attractions such as Sigiriya, Dambulla, Kandy, wildlife parks are not open yet in order to minimize the gathering of people.

Sri Lankan hotels are open only with limited functionalities

Hotels are allowed to host wedding ceremonies with a maximum number of 100 guests. According to the regulation, the number of guests at a wedding ceremony should not exceed 40 per cent of the full occupancy capacity of the hall.

All the hotels and eateries registered with SLTDA (Sri Lanka’s tourism authority) has been given permission were permitted to restart in house dining services on Tuesday.

When will Sri Lanka be opened to foreign travellers after COVID-19?

When will Sri Lanka be opened to foreign travellers after COVID-19?”, “Is Sri Lanka safe to travel during CORONA Pandemic?”, “Is Sri Lanka handle COVID-19 pandemic successfully?”. These are some of the questions we get from our readers. I must say that Sri Lanka is safe at the moment and there is no chance of contracting virus if you travel within the island.

According to the information the government is planning to open the island to foreign travellers from July onward. Hotels will be first opened to the local travellers, before accepting the room reservations from the foreign travellers.

Colombo international airport will be opened for foreign travellers from 1st of August

According to the latest news, the presidential task force on COVID-19 has recommended opening the airport from August 1st. The airport is officially closed for more than 3 months. Foreign travellers are not allowed to enter the island since March 18, in order to prevent imported CORONA cases.

Foreign travellers stranded in Sri Lanka due to COVID-19 left the island with a happy face

About 11000 foreign travellers were stranded on the island during the curfew period. The curfew hampered public life for more than 4 weeks in some parts of Sri Lanka while some others had to live with a curfew for more than 60 days. The airport was also closed during the curfew in Sri Lanka. Most airlines stopped their flights around the world u causing the travellers to restrict their movements.

With the relaxation of curfew, limited flight operations for passengers started from 17th May, therefore foreign travellers were able to leave for their home countries.

The situation of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka by march

In the meantime, the number of patients recovered from coronavirus is increased to more than 600 while the number of corona patients on the country surpasses 240 patients. More than 150 patients are admitted to hospitals due to coronavirus and undergoing treatments. The entire country is lockdown with police curfew and curfew is lifted in regular intervals for people to gather essential items.

The relaxation of curfew is only for few districts, which are not identified as high-risk areas, Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Jaffna, Puttalam and Kandy have been identified as high-risk areas.

CORONA Virus task force

However, the Coronavirus task force under the guidance of her excellency Gotabaya Rajapakse has rendered an unprecedented and commendable task for the island. They have been able to minimize the damage that could have done to the island by the virus.

In the meantime, the government of Sri Lanka is planning to ease the restriction prevailing on the island in the coming weeks. The regulations will be eased in a systematic manner.

The most important industries are already given the green light to carry on their businesses. The schools, universities and other institutions are also planned to be started in the near future.

Still, no foreigners are allowed to enter the island through the airports and ports. However, the government is planning to receive foreign travellers in the near future through the international airport. The government also plans to take a necessary precautionary measure such as testing the passengers for Coronavirus before entering the island. The dates are not published yet when the airport is going to be opened.

Coronavirus, which started to spread far and side in China has now been able to claim many hundreds of lives across many countries around the world. coronavirus has become the biggest threat to the world in 2020, up to now. The virus originated in Wuhan China has been reported in more 190 countries so far.    

All activities across the world are badly hampered by a coronavirus and some of the major world events such as Olympic at the verge of cancellation due to the fast-spreading coronavirus. Recently Saudi Arabia decided to cancel issuing visas to pilgrims heading to Mecca, as a measure to curb spreading deadly coronavirus.

Tourism is one of the most hit industries due to the coronavirus as most travellers started to postpone their travel plans. The fast-spreading coronavirus steadily growing outside of China, which is a very alarming message to the world. According to the WHO, it has been a daunting task to decide on the behaviour of coronavirus and its impact on the world. So far its impact on world tourism industry exceeds many million dollars.

Currently, there is no vaccine to treat coronavirus, and the tests to make a vaccine have not been very accurate so far. However, a successful vaccine predicted to be in place by April 2020. As the WHO declared a global health emergency due to the fast-spreading coronavirus, more and more tourist started to restrict their movements beyond their homes.

Corona cases in Sri Lanka

So far there has been more than 250 corona patient (as of 04/16/20) discovered in Sri Lanka. Most of the patients are from abroad and arrived on the island in the month of March. The first corona patient, a Chinese tourist who was on holiday was fully cured and return to her home country after useful treatments.

First Corona patient in Sri Lanka

The first Corona patient of Sri Lanka was a Chinese lady. A Chine tourist who had been touring on the island was admitted to the hospital with symptoms of the corona. She was quarantined at the hospital of Angoda (a special unit to treat patients with epidemiological diseases) and later dispatched as she was fully recovered. Since then no corona patient reported on the island.

Sri Lanka attracts a large number of Chinese travellers every year. A large number of Chinese travellers arrive on the island on a daily basis. Due to the decreased Chinese arrival, many Sri Lankan tour operators find it difficult to continue with their businesses. However, the number of foreign travellers from elsewhere show only a slight drop.

Government take stringent measure to curb spreading Corona

The authorities have been prepared all stringent measures to identify potential Corona patients at the airport and the harbour. Same times many hospitals have been prepared to treat patients diagnosed with corona. Despite the stringent measures to control the Corona patients, the number of Corona cases have been increased by 106 as of 03/28/20. Therefore the government of Sri Lanka has tightened the measures to curb the spread of the virus on the island.

Since the travellers coming from abroad is the main reason for the increasing number of corona cases the government first stopped all the flights from several countries such as Iran, Italy, China, Korea. However, later the government has decided to stop all foreign arrival.

Government has declared public holidays starting from Monday (16/03/20) to Thursday (19/03/20). According to the information, it could be further extended if necessary. Health authorities opine that the number of corona patients originated within the country is negligible and most patients are from foreign countries.

Health authorities have instructed the public to take below measure to curb Corona infections.

  • Wash hands properly and frequently using soap
  • Avoid public gatherings
  • Use masks
  • Avoid touching mouth, nose and eyes as much as possible
  • If you arrived from a foreign country recently restrict your travel

Quarantine centres

The government has set up many quarantine centres on the island in order to accommodate the passengers coming from foreign countries such as Korea, Italy. These quarantine centres were started on 03/15/20. therefore all the passengers came from those countries until 03/15/20 we not quarantined. According to the information those passengers arrived on the island from 03/01/20 to 03/15/20 also could carry the virus. The government has instructed such passengers to self-quarantine for 14 days and report to the hospital if they have corona symptoms.

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