ECONOMYNEXT – Three Ukrainian tourists who arrived in Sri Lanka on Monday (28) as part of a pilot project to restart tourism in Sri Lanka have tested positive for COVID-19, the national pandemic task force said.
The group of 175 tourists who arrived at the Mattala international airport were welcomed by what appeared to be an unmasked dance item. In footage shown by various media outlets, some of the tourists stepping out of the flight were seen to be inadequately masked, with their mask hanging on their chin.
Government officials said the tour group are currently stationed at an undisclosed hotel where they’re undergoing a 14-day quarantine.
“The tour group will be divided into groups of 10 and will be taken for a 10 days tour around the island,” Public Health Inspector Union Chairman Upul Rohana told EconomyNext. He added that health guidelines were issued to all tourists at the airport.
The Ministry of Tourism had previously announced that the tourists arriving as part of the pilot project to revive tourism were to be subjected to PCR tests before departure to Sri Lanka. Upon arrival, they were to be subject to another round of PCR tests followed by a 14-day quarantine. A list of hotels had been pre-booked for the tourists’ during their stay.
“In this pilot project we observe the success of these tours and whether they follow the guidelines accordingly. After that we will decide whether or not to bring more tourists to the country,” Rohana said. The PHI union is collaborating with the tourism ministry for the project, he added.
“They can only continue the tour in the island after yet another PCR test subsequent to the 14-day quarantine,” he said.
Meanwhile, 457 people tested positive for COVId-19 in the 24 hours that ended at 6am today, the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 (NOCPOC) said.
Of the 457 patients, four are returnees from Dubai while 453 were identified from the local clusters, NOCPOC said in its daily update.
With the new patients, the total number of patients in the country has increased to 42,063 with 7,943 active cases and 620 individuals under investigation in Hospitals.
Sri Lanka Police Media Spokesman Ajith Rohana said that rapid antigen tests will continue to be carried out at eleven exits out of the Western province. So far 74 patients have been identified from such random tests, he said.
“We carried out 1,007 random rapid antigen tests at the province’s exits and were able to identify 13 COVID-positive cases,” Rohana said.
“From December 18 onwards, 10,986 antigen tests have been conducted in total and 74 patients were found,” he said, adding that 377 close contacts of the patients have been sent to quarantine.
A further nine patients were discovered upon random rapid antigen tests conducted at the Galle Face Green in Colombo yesterday, the spokesman said. (Colombo/Dec30/2020)