Sri Lanka to halt all passenger arrivals as COVID-19 spreads

The Sri Lankan government Wednesday said that arrival of all incoming passengers into the island country would be suspended from May 21 midnight to May 31 in order to prevent a further spread of COVID-19.

State Minister of Aviation and Export Zones Development, D.V. Chanaka told Xinhua that the decision to halt all incoming passengers had been taken at the COVID-19 taskforce meeting held with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday evening.

Chanaka said all international flights would be informed of the suspension and all passenger flights would be canceled till May 31.

"This decision has been made to combat the spread of the COVID virus in the country. All passenger arrivals will be suspended for 10 days from May 21," the minister said.

Sri Lanka is presently in the midst of a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with the rapid spread of a new variant of the virus which has infected over 50,000 people in the month of May alone.

According to official figures, the total number of deaths recorded in Sri Lanka reached 1,015 since the pandemic broke out in the country since March last year while the total number of infections reached over 150,000. 

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