COLOMBO, June 15 (Xinhua) -- The Sri Lankan government is aiming to open its international airports before August 1 as no community transmission of the COVID-19 has been reported since late April, Tourism and Aviation Minister Prasanna Ranatunga was quoted by local media as saying on Monday.
"We will be ready to receive all international tourists into the country after the repatriation of all Sri Lankan citizens stranded overseas is concluded," the minister said, adding that the repatriation procedure is set to end before August.
Sri Lanka had initially set to open its international airports for foreign tourists on August 1 after their closure in March amid the spread of COVID-19 virus but discussions are now underway to open up by next month.
Ranatunga said that an estimated 20,000 nationals are awaiting to be repatriated from overseas and to date around 10,000 nationals had been brought back.
Once this is done, Sri Lanka will look to open up for foreign tourists immediately.
Ranatunga further said that tourists arriving in Sri Lanka, after its airports open, will be subject to PCR tests upon their arrival and they could enter the country after results are received within 24 hours.
"All tourists arriving in the country will be subjected to PCR tests and attention has been paid to bring tourists in small groups after the airport is reopened," the Minister said.
Sri Lanka has to date detected 1,895 cases of COVID-19 patients out of which 1,342 have been treated and discharged from hospitals.
A total of 11 deaths have been reported from the virus. Enditem