Sri Lanka halts cruise tourism on Coronavirus, to quarantine high risk arrivals
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s has halted cruise tourism as the Coronavirus spread to Europe and the US and the Indian Ocean island will also start to quarantine arrivals from high risk areas shortly, officials said.
Cruise ships would be allowed to dock in Colombo for supplies and fuel but passengers would not be allowed to disembark, National Coordinator for Disaster Preparedness at Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health Hemantha Herath said.
Sri Lanka would continue to supply food and other requirements for ships on humanitarian grounds. Crew changes are also allowed. The medical officer on board a ship has to submit a health report to the port before docking.
Herath said if there are sick people on board, a decision would be made on a case-by-case basis.
Sri Lanka has set up a task force to co-ordinate and comp up with Coronavirus control measures.
Authorities have announced that Sri Lanka is setting up facilities to quarantine arrivals from high risk areas.
“Because the virus is spreading in Italy, Iran and Korea we will quarantine arrivals from those destinations,” Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi told reporters.
Authorities are preparing an old leprosy hospital north of Colombo as the first quarantine hospital.
Herath said 14-day quarantining at the new facilities from identified destinations will start from later this week.
But Sri Lanka is already sending people with symptoms to designated hospitals, while others from high risk areas are also being sent for observation, Herath said.
Sri Lanka started screening arrivals and asking passengers from risky areas to self-quarantine from late January. Persons from risky areas are tracked and visited daily by a health officer for 14 days. Colombo/Mar05/2020)