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Tuesday May 30th, 2023

Fully vaccinated travellers can now enter Sri Lanka with one-day quarantine

ECONOMYNEXT – Fully vaccinated travelers can now visit Sri Lanka from Thursday (July 8) with only one-day in quarantine until on-arrival PCR tests are cleared, a ministry of health circular with fresh guidelines said.

Meanwhile Sri Lankans can return to the island without obtaining prior approval from the foreign ministry.

According to the circular published Wednesday (7), Sri Lankans or dual citizens arriving on Sri Lankan passports can directly book their tickets with their airlines. Clearance from the foreign ministry or the Civil Aviation Authority (CCA) is not required.

Upon arrival, passengers have the option to request a quarantine hotel or a government-run quarantine facility.

All travelers are allowed to enter via Sri Lanka Tourism and should obtain Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) from the Sri Lanka Tourism website at

Foreigners and dual citizens arriving on foreign passports through Sri Lanka Tourism are not required to obtain prior approval from the foreign ministry of Sri Lanka. Others must obtain prior approval via email by contacting to arrive in the country.

As per the standard, all passengers must submit a negative PCR test report done 72-hours before boarding the flight. Rapid antigen tests are not accepted, according to the circular.

On arrival at the airport, passengers must submit a health declaration form to the airport health office staff and vaccination cards too must be submitted to the airport.

Passengers are to be immediately transferred to a government run quarantine centre, quarantine hotel or a Safe & Secure Certified Level 1 hotel. Government authorities or the hotel management must take the responsibility on a pre-determined manner.

Likewise travelers attached to diplomatic missions and agencies must liaise with their respective offices to arrange for transport to undergo quarantine.

All travelers despite vaccination status must undergo PCR while staying at their quarantine facilities from ministry approved laboratories. Government approved laborites can be found at the following link:

Children below two-years are exempted from PCR tests.

If the on arrival (day one) PCR test report is negative, tourists arriving via Sri Lanka Tourism are allowed to move between Safe & Secure Certified Level 1 hotels in a bio-secure travel bubble and allowed to visit approved sites during the quarantine period, the circular said.

All travellers should immediately inform the area Medical Officer of Health (MOH) by telephone or email, upon arriving at their residence.

Foreigners can get the assistance of the hotel management/travel agents to find the contact details of area MOH.

According to the circular, travellers with a travel history (including transit) in the past 14 days to India,  Vietnam, South American countries and South African countries (South Africa, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe) will not be permitted to disembark in Sri Lanka until further notice.

Sri Lankan citizens from India, Vietnam, South American countries and South African countries are allowed to disembark in 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.

They too have to undergo mandatory Institutional Quarantine (irrespective of their vaccination status) at a Quarantine Hotel or Centre.

Vaccinated travelers

Travelers who have received two doses of vaccine 14-days before arrival will be considered as fully-vaccinated.

Vaccinated travelers must carry their original certificate and translated copies if its not in English.

“As there are positive cases reported among fully vaccinated persons in Sri Lanka and in other countries, it is important to minimize COVID-19 or its variants entering in to the country. Therefore, fully vaccinated travellers should not relax the preventive measures and should abide by the COVID-19 preventive measures imposed by the Government of Sri Lanka,” Health Ministry said.

On the seventh day after arrival, vaccinated travellers must undergo another PCR test.

However if the PCR tests are negative for non-vaccinated travellers or who have not receive the required doses will be subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine at the facilities they are staying at.

Travellers who complete two weeks period of  recommended doses of vaccination during their stay at Quarantine can be discharged with a negative COVID-19 PCR test result (done

after completing the two weeks from last vaccination date) and NO further quarantine is necessary.

Seafarers or Maritime Security Officers (Sea marshals) via airports

Seafarers or Sea Marshals are not allowed to enter the country via Sri Lanka Tourism. They must obtain approvals from the foreign ministry and are to be quarantined at a separate isolation centre used for seafarers and sea marshals.

Sri Lankan seafarers / sea marshals who intend to board a vessel should be quarantined in an Isolation Centre.

Sri Lankan seafarers / sea marshals who do not intend to board a vessel but intend to enter the community should undergo quarantine in a Quarantine Hotel / Government Quarantine Centre (Colombo/July07/2021)

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Sri Lanka cabinet approves President’s proposal to resume Japanese LRT after soared ties 

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Cabinet of Ministers approved a proposal by President Ranil Wickremesinghe to resume the unilaterally cancelled Japan funded Light Rail Transit (LRT), cabinet spokesman said, as the island nation is in the process of mending ties with Tokyo.

However, any such deals are likely to take place after the debt restructuring and Sri Lanka starts to repay its foreign loans to come out of default, analysts say.

Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa unilaterally cancelled the 1.5 billion US dollar LRT and East Container Terminal (ECT) projects in 2021. Japan agreed to fund the LRT project while it was one of the tripartite members of the ECT project along with India and Sri Lanka.

The abrupt cancellation hit the diplomatic ties between the two countries and Sri Lankan government officials have said Japan had given the project to Sri Lanka at a very lower financing cost.

President Wickremesinghe returned from Japan late last week after having met top officials of the Japanese government including its prime minister.

“In recent history, due to the stopping of several agreements and proposals suddenly, President Wickremesinghe went to Japan after creating the background to clear some of the worries we have,” Cabinet Spokesman Bandula Gunawardena told the weekly media briefing.

“Before he went, he got the approval from the cabinet to resume the discussion on the light railway project. He got the approval from the cabinet to get parliament approval for bilateral agreements signed or any other investments project. Any change or cancellation of a project could be done only with the approval of the parliament.”

Japan has backed Sri Lanka under Wickremesinghe’s presidency after the island nation declared sovereign debt default. (Colombo/May 30/2023)

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Sri Lanka to tighten grip on television with broadcast law

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has formulated a broadcast authority law to regulate electronic media which will be made public soon, Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardana said.

“The draft prepared by a cabinet subcommittee under Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa has discussed with various parties will be given to all media institutions and broadcast media,” Gunawardana said.

“We do not have to hide or force anyone. A legal framework that can be acceptable to all for all sectors.”

“In a week or two Minister Wijedasa will discuss with state and private stakeholders.”

At the moment Sri Lanka has issued frequencies without conforming to an “international procedures”, he said.

In Sri Lanka television frequencies are issued under a state television act.

Successive administrations in Sri Lanka has since around 1980 mis-used state television duopoly which including for conducting elections according to critics.

Private television as well a raio emerged around the 1990s and has since over shadowed state media.

There have been calls by ruling party politicians from time to time to control private media. There is now calls to control social media.

At a Committee on Public Accounts meeting of the Department of Government Information, ruling coalition legislators called for regulation of television content. (Colombo/May30/2023)

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Sri Lanka rupee at 296.75/297.25 to dollar at open, bond yields steady

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee opened at 297 /297.50 against the US dollar in the spot market on Monday, while bond yields were steady, dealers said.

The rupee closed at 296.75 /297.25 to the US dollar on Monday after opening around 296.50 /297.50 rupees.

A bond maturing on 01.09.2027 was quoted at 26.50/75 percent steady from Friday’s close at 26.50/65 percent.

Sri Lanka’s rupee is appreciating amid negative private credit which has reduced outflows after the central bank hiked rates and stopped printing money. (Colombo/ May 29/2023)

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