Travelling abroad has been off the cards for Indians through most of this year, following the border closures during the second wave. As cases dip in the country, several nations including the EU are opening up to fully vaccinated Indian tourists. While some like UAE allow entry with RT-PCR negative test reports and tests on arrival, others like the UK require Indians to quarantine for a period of 10 days.
On August 25, Sri Lanka opened its borders to fully vaccinated Indian tourists. This is the first time since May 6 when all arrivals from India were stopped by the neighbouring country.
However, it is important to note that Sri Lanka announced a 10-day nationwide lockdown on August 20 following a Delta-variant linked surge in cases. It recorded 3,793 cases on August 18.
Can you travel to Sri Lanka?
Fully vaccinated individuals who have completed two weeks after receiving the second dose are allowed to travel. Both Indian vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin are permissible in Sri Lanka.
Those who have detected positive for COVID in the past can also travel to Sri Lanka after having received the first dose of their vaccine and completing the two-week period. Travel dates need to be between the 28 th and 90 th day of the positive COVID test report.
Unvaccinated tourists are also allowed entry but can only remain in a bio bubble that includes 22 tourist spots and a list of hotels for accommodation.
What do you need to travel to Sri Lanka?
If Sri Lanka is your destination of choice, for post-pandemic foreign travel, you may need to be prepared with a few things.
Travellers who have received both doses of Covishield or Covaxin, and completed 14 days after that, are allowed to enter the island nation and travel freely.
- A tourist visa that you can now apply for online. The country plans to issue six-month-long tourist visas.
- Carry your vaccination certificate in original (a digital or print copy)
- Prepare to take an on-arrival RT-PCR test.
- Those who test positive will be taken to health centres in the city of arrival.
- Children between the age of two and 18 are required to take an RT-PCR test, too.
- Organise for your own travel to the place of stay and avoid public transport.
- COVID protocol including masking is mandatory.
What can you do in Sri Lanka?
On August 22, Sri Lankan Airlines, in a press release, announced an increase in the frequency of flights to India by up to five times. Besides flights from metro cities like Chennai and Mumbai, the carrier will also operate flights from cities like Tiruchirappalli, Madurai, Kochi and Trivandrum. This will make post-pandemic travel more accessible for all.
Sri Lanka is under lockdown currently with a night curfew from 10 pm to 4 am until August 31. Here's what is open and what is not:
- Music festivals, beach parties, carnivals and other such gatherings are banned.
- Restaurants are allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity.
- Shopping malls are closed.
- Gyms and swimming pools are closed.
- Travel is restricted to emergencies only.
- Tourist spots are open.
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