Arrivals from several countries with Delta to be permitted
- Sri Lankans from Delta detected countries allowed to return, last week
By Imsha Iqbal
Sri Lanka is likely to ease the aviation restrictions for travellers who come from several countries with the Delta Covid-19 variant, under strict health guidelines, The Morning Business learns.
Speaking to us, Deputy Director General of Health Services Dr. Hemantha Herath stated that Sri Lanka is likely to ease travel restrictions to the travellers who arrive from the countries that have been detected with the Delta variant, however, under strict health regulations.
He said: “In the latest circular on the travel restrictions, we have enforced specific guidelines on what needs to be done when a person comes from a country that is likely to be infected with the Delta variant.”
Sri Lanka banned arrivals from India, Vietnam, South American countries, and South African countries recently to ensure that people affected by the Delta variant do not enter the country.
Further explaining on the matter, Dr. Herath said that still there is a list of countries that were identified as the countries which are more likely to bring the new variant upon travelling from overseas.
According to the circular (DGHS/Covid-19/347/2021) which was issued on Wednesday (7) by the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Dr. Asela Gunawardena, in “Quarantine measures for travellers arriving from overseas during the pandemic of COVID-19”, it is said “Sri Lanka citizens (Not applicable for foreign nationals / dual citizens) from India, Vietnam, South American countries, and South African countries could be allowed to disembark Sri Lanka with the permission of the Director General of Health Services/Ministry of Health, followed by the permission of Foreign Ministry and Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka.”
However, such individuals have to undergo a mandatory Institutional Quarantine irrespective of their vaccination status, at a quarantine hotel or quarantine center where the facilities are available in order to separate from travellers who arrive from other countries and such travellers will be released only following a negative PCR report on the 14th day of arrival to the country. Additionally, the circular specifically mentions that the travellers who come from aforesaid Delta variant detected countries shall not be quarantined at a hotel which is said to be a “Safe and Secure Certified Level One”.
At the same time, the circular further said that the travellers who are foreign nationals or dual citizenship holders with a travel history, including transit, in the last 14 days to India, Vietnam, South American countries, and South African countries – South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe – are not permitted to disembark in the country until further notice under the section of Travel Restricted Countries.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, in an interview with Vismita Gupta Smith, WHO Communications, said that the Delta variant is the fourth variant of concern and that has been identified as more transmissible, in comparison to the other variants with a resistance to antibodies against Covid-19. She said: “You need the full course of vaccination in order to protect from the Delta variant.”
Thus, currently, the designated Variants of Concern are Alpha and Beta, which were designated on 18 December 2020, Gamma which was designated on 11 January 2021, and Delta which was designated on 4 April 2021.