Taking a U-turn, Sri Lanka on Wednesday lifted the passenger arrival restrictions imposed on GCC countries.
The news follows immediately after concerns were raised with the earlier decision that anyone with a travel history within the past 14 days to Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait would be denied entry to the island nation with effect from July 1.
‘In accordance with instructions received from the Ministry of Health and the National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak, the passenger restriction on the following six countries – Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait – is revoked with immediate effect,’ the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL) said.
H E Omar LebbeAmeerajwad, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Oman, confirming the latest development, said, “Sri Lankan authorities for the prevention of COVID-19 outbreak have removed the travel restrictions for the arrival of passengers from the Middle Eastern countries including the Sultanate of Oman.”
The way Sri Lankan authorities change their decisions has caused confusion among Sri Lanka-bound passengers in Oman.
A businessman, who did not wish to be named, said, “The Sri Lankan authorities are making a mockery of the situation and the plight of the common man. Just for these whimsical decisions, two of my colleagues, among many others, cancelled their tickets as they thought they wouldn’t be able to travel on July 8. Now, who will bear the losses? Add to that all the hassle they had to undergo, wasting their precious time.”
‘All arriving passengers must have a negative PCR test obtained within 96 hours prior to departure. The airline has to ensure this before boarding passengers. Antigen tests cannot be accepted as a pre-departure test for boarding while a PCR test must be presented from a government approved hospital/laboratory in the respective country with a QR Code/Bar Code,’ CAASL said.
‘Airlines must satisfy themselves of the authenticity of the test reports presented by the passengers and passengers are permitted to arrive only for hotel quarantine or through the Sri Lanka Tourism Bio Bubble Route. The above conditions will apply until further notice,’ it added.