Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga says a process is being devised to allow fully vaccinated Sri Lankans arriving in the country to be directed to their homes without undergoing quarantine, if the PCR test conducted at the Bandaranaike International Airport returns negative for COVID-19.
However, the Minister said this programme for foreign tourists visiting the island will commence from Saturday. The Minister was speaking at the opening of the new PCR laboratory at the BIA this morning.
PCR tests will be conducted at the laboratory for tourists visiting Sri Lanka from Saturday.
500 PCR tests can be conducted at the laboratory hourly, while 7000 PCR tests can be conducted daily. The PCR test result is expected to be issued for arrivals within three hours.
Accordingly, arrivals whose PCR result returns negative and who have been fully vaccinated will be able to enter the country and visit various attractions.
The PCR test will be conducted at USD 40.
Minister Ranatunga said fully vaccinated and COVID-negative tourists will be allowed to visit the country without undergoing quarantine.
The Minister said the government is considering providing this same benefit to Sri Lankan expatriates, adding that at present individuals must spend at least one day in a paid quarantine facility until the PCR test upon arrival returns negative.
Minister Ranatunga said the matter was discussed with the Minister of Health while a request in this regard was also made by Minister of Labour Nimal Siripala de Silva.
He said Lankans will also be granted the opportunity to undergo a PCR test at the lab adding that the Foreign Ministry will issue necessary directives in this regard.
Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella speaking at the occasion said the government has had to face many challenges owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Minister said all challenges will be faced and overcome successfully.
The Health Minister said the coronavirus took over the country unexpectedly adding that all challenges that arose with the pandemic were faced head on instead of evading as there is no alternative.
Minister Rambukwella claimed the tourism sector is a main source of income to the country’s economy.
He noted that while Sri Lanka is a small economy, main economic contributors must be developed and protected as a prime responsibility.