Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said no decision had been made so far to close the airport although the Government had imposed travel restrictions within the country given the current spike in COVID-19 infections. Any decision regarding the closure of the airport will be made in accordance with health authorities’ recommendation, the Minister said following a meeting held in Gampaha yesterday. “If we close the airport, it will hinder the repatriation of Sri Lankans wanting to come. No decision has been made so far to restrict travellers or to close the airport. Any such significant decision will be made after considering all parties concerned and in accordance with health authority recommendations,” Ranatunga stressed. The Minister also said that certain countries had already imposed travel bans and restricted their flights to Sri Lanka. “Countries like Kuwait and Dubai have stopped flights from Sri Lanka and several other South Asian countries due to the outbreak in COVID-19. We have to work taking all these factors into consideration,” he added. Italy, Kuwait, Singapore, UAE, Philippines, Malaysia and the Maldives have already suspended travellers from Sri Lanka as a reflection of the rising COVID-19 cases in the country. “As a responsible Government we will always adhere as per the instructions given to us by the health authorities.” On Tuesday, the Health Ministry announced all passengers arriving in Sri Lanka will be required to undergo mandatory quarantine for a period of 14- days, irrespective of their vaccination status. These passengers include Sri Lankan citizens, dual citizens, foreign nationals, and diplomatic staff. “COVID-19 continues to threaten economies with recurrences of changing variants of the virus. The Government has made arrangements to expedite the vaccine program and we hope to vaccine all citizens within the next few months,” he said.
Original Article: http://www.ft.lk/front-page/Tourism-Minister-says-no-decision-taken-yet-to-close-airport/44-717854