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Sri Lanka not in EU list considered for easing travel ban despite Coronavirus control

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is not in a list of 15 countries being considered first by the European Union to relax travel restrictions from, though the gains made by the Indian Ocean island against Coronavirus is recognized, the bloc’s delegation in Colombo said.

“The EU and Member States Ambassadors resident in Colombo recognise the successful efforts of the Sri Lankan government to contain the spread of COVID-19,” the EU delegation said in a statement.

“The decision to lift travel restrictions with non-EU countries is ultimately the prerogative of EU Member States and the Schengen Associated Countries.”

The EU delegation said EU has been trying to agree on an initial list of countries to lift a ban on non-essential travel on “objective criteria, including the epidemiological situation in the given country and possibility to seek reciprocity with the country concerned.”

Sri Lanka has largely re-opened the economy under health regulations while Vietnam has lifted all domestic restrictions and social distancing but is maintaining strict quarantine of two weeks and another two weeks of self-quarantine for anyone from outside the country.

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Sri Lanka along with Vietnam was among the countries first to restrict travelers from European Union and UK in March 2020 including their own citizens.

Countries including in the EU who did not quarantine or trace contact of returnees and tourists from China in January and February 2020 helped create a global pandemic.

Sri Lanka and Vietnam quarantined or self-quarantined those returning from China early in January in the so-called Wave I or Wuhan wave and die to re-export nationals to contribute to a global pandemic.

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Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Cambodia restricted travel from China ignoring World Health Organization advice not to restrict or quarantine ‘healthy travellers’ at the time.

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In both Sri Lanka and Vietnam, where the virus had been contained, the early Wave II persons in March 2020 were those who either returned from the EU or were tourists.

In the case of Sri Lanka it was from Italy and in the case of Vietnam both Italy and UK were involved in the early Second Wave confirmed patients in March.

Sri Lanka has confirmed 2039 Coronavirus patients up to June 29 with 2 confirmed during the day, the Health Ministry said. All 4 confirmed on June 29 were foreign returnees.

“The absence of a country on this positive list should therefore not be considered as being blacklisted,” the EU delegation said.

“The list will be regularly updated and revised to ensure that further countries can be added as soon as the situation allows.”

Vietnam has just started limited business travel with Japan, with which it has close links, but is following quarantine. (Colombo/June29/2020)