COVID-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice
As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Any country or area may restrict travel without notice. If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available. Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.
Cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Government is taking measures to prevent the spread of the virus. You should comply with screening measures put in place by the authorities. See Return to the UK
Entry and borders
Flights to Sri Lanka have been suspended since 19 March. If you’re visiting Sri Lanka, you’re strongly advised to leave now, while commercial departure options are available. For information on how to return to the UK from Sri Lanka, see Return to the UK
The Sri Lankan government has announced that people who arrived in Sri Lanka after 1 March should register with the police by telephone via the emergency 119 service or by calling the local station. Speak to your hotel or tour company for assistance.
Cruise ship passengers will not be allowed to disembark in the country, including for temporary shore visits. You should speak to your tour operator for further information on the impact on any existing travel plans.
The government has announced the phased reduction in curfew measures to allow some people to return to work, beginning in some areas from 20 April. Overnight curfew measures and social distancing instructions will remain in force. In addition, the authorities have quarantined a number of towns where they judge the immediate risk to be highest. Curfews are subject to last-minute changes. Checkpoints have been introduced in a number of places, and those not adhering to the restrictions risk arrest. Speak to your hotel or travel agent for the latest information, and follow the instructions of the security forces at all times.
No new visas will be issued to British nationals currently outside Sri Lanka, and any British nationals arriving in Sri Lanka are now subject to mandatory 14-day quarantine period in military-run quarantine camps.
If you are already in Sri Lanka, the government has announced that visit visas will be extended to 12 May if necessary. The government have confirmed that you can pay the relevant fee and complete the process at the airport on departure. This process will apply even if you have already submitted your passport for a visa extension. You should ring +94 77 158 8724 for inquiries.
The visa on arrival service has been suspended as part of the government’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak.
A small number of tourists have reported problems with hotels trying to cancel bookings made by foreign visitors, and some incidents of harassment. Speak to your travel agent about any accommodation booking problems, and report any incidents of harassment to the police first and then to the British High Commission.
The Sri Lankan healthcare system will come under significant further strain as the number of cases increases. Access to routine and emergency healthcare may be limited.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 011 2691111 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Emergency medical treatment isn’t easily available outside main cities, and you may have to be brought to Colombo for treatment. Medical facilities are not always of a standard expected in the UK, particularly outside Colombo. Treatment in private hospitals can be expensive and the options for repatriation to the UK or neighbouring countries in an emergency are limited and very expensive. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
Further information on coronavirus, including advice on preparing for foreign travel and helping reduce the spread of the virus, is available from Public Health England and on the TravelHealthPro website.
You can find more information about cases in Sri Lanka on the TravelHealthPro website