Sri Lanka Government hopes to reopen the Bandaranaike International Airport in Katunayake by the end of September, Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga says.

The Minister said the decision will be implemented only after obtaining approval from health authorities.

Tourists will be facilitated to visit Sri Lanka keeping in mind the safety of the citizens, he added.

All airports in Sri Lanka were temporarily closed from March 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Government helped repatriate all tourists who were stranded in Sri Lanka as a result, and also launched a special program to repatriate all Sri Lankans who were stranded overseas. Via (Newswire)

Meanwhile Sunday Times report that No concrete decision has been taken yet as to when Sri Lanka will open its points of entry fully and extensive discussions are underway among all stakeholders to work out the pros and cons.

The Health Ministry’s Chief Epidemiologist, Dr. Sudath Samaraweera, said that no specific date has been set to open the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), Katunayake, and discussions are on how to go about it, while ensuring the safety of the country against COVID-19.

Even though a possible date for the opening of BIA was set as September 15, many sources that the Sunday Times spoke to reflected the information given by Dr. Samaraweera.

The Sunday Times learns that those involved in the decision of when to open the BIA include the Airport & Aviation Services Ltd. (AASL), the Health Ministry, the Tourism Ministry, the Civil Aviation Authority and the army.

With regard to the numbers affected by COVID-19 within the country, Dr. Samaraweera said that all sub-clusters of the Kanadakadu cluster have waned but a few confirmed cases may still surface from the Senapura sub-cluster. Now those who are detected as positive are returnees who are in quarantine centres.

Referring to the limited operations at the BIA and the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA), he said that until the points of entry are opened fully, everyone who comes into the country undergoes a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days at a centre run by the government or a designated hotel, followed by another 14 days of home-quarantine.

“Transit passengers who disembark for a short while are kept in a separate section at the airport with all safety precautions. Even the staff members who have minimal contact wear full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE),” he said.

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