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Sri Lanka still open for tourism: Prasanna Ranatunga

Sri Lanka will continue to operate its airports and allow tourists to enter despite the current Covid-19 pandemic, Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said, adding that the process will be carried out under the instructions issued by the health sector.

He further stated that also despite the increase in the number of Covid infections, no decision has been taken so far to restrict the repatriation of Sri Lankans abroad.

The Minister said that the repatriation of Sri Lankans from overseas will be carried out in accordance with health instructions and in a manner that will support the Covid control program as much as possible.

The Minister further stated that so far tourists have been brought into the country according to a secure manner and if a tourist visiting Sri Lanka is infected, they were prevented from socializing.

However, a decrease in tourist arrivals has been observed at present, he said.

Airbone variant of Covid-19?

The Sri Lankan health authorities have said that a new COVID-19 variant is spreading in the island nation, which is highly transmissible.

According to Neelika Malavige, the head of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Sciences of the Sri Jayawardenapura University, the new variant can remain airborne for nearly an hour and is spreading fast.

"This variant of coronavirus is more highly transmissible than all found so far in the island. The new strain is airborne, the droplets can remain airborne for nearly an hour," Malavige said.

Meanwhile, the ministry of COVID prevention issued new guidelines which would remain in force until May 31.

The guidelines dictate a 50 per cent capacity operation for most institutions with all forms of revelry being banned.

The country-wide cases which were around 150 before the mid-April New Year have now shot up to over 600 a day.

Sri Lanka is also running out of its health care capacity, officials said.

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