Everything else.. Covid-19: Advice for Sri Lankans Travelling Abroad

Covid-19: Advice for Sri Lankans Travelling Abroad

2020 Mar 16

Last updated: March 15, 2020

Global travel is effectively shutting down due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. While countries are ramping up efforts to curb the spread of the pandemic, it helps to keep abreast of the latest news and updates on travel restrictions, bans and advisories in order to reassess travel plans and stay safe while flying abroad.

Before Travelling

Q: Where can I get checked for Covid-19 in Sri Lanka?

According to the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medicine, you can get tested at:

1. National Institute for Infectious Diseases

2. National Hospital of Sri Lanka

3. Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children

4. Castle Street Hospital for Women

5. Base Hospital Mulleriyawa

6. North Colombo Teaching Hospital

7. District General Hospital Negombo

8. District General Hospital Gampaha

9. National Hospital Kandy

10. Teaching Hospital Karapitiya

11. District General Hospital Hambantota

12. Teaching Hospital Jaffna

13. Teaching Hospital Batticaloa

14. Teaching Hospital Anuradhapura

15. Provinvial General Hospital Kurunegala

16. Provinicial General Hospital Badulla

17. Teaching Hospital Ratnapura

We made a roundup of six countries that Sri Lankans popularly travel to with information on quarantine processes, safety procedures and other essential tips for those travelling to these countries.

Note to readers:

– The information provided below serves as a general guide to travelers, but please note that all non-essential travel is presently discouraged by the World Health Organisation.

– The information below is subject to change, due to the rapidly changing situation of the pandemic. While the content provided below is under constant review and is updated as new information becomes available, be sure to check with the right authorities for further verification before travelling abroad.

– The information provided is limited to those holding a Sri Lankan passport. Consider this your definitive guide for travelling with caution during these uncertain times.


1. Australia

The Australian Government has imposed travel bans on travelers (except Australian nationals) who are or have recently been in:

  • Mainland China
  • Republic of Korea
  • Italy
  • Iran

The Government also advises those who have travelled through high-risk countries and are not feeling well to self-quarantine for 14 days. Take note of symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, a cough or a respiratory illness, during the period of self-quarantine. Source: Department of Home Affairs, Government of Australia (www.homeaffairs.gov.au)


2. Singapore

Entry into or transit through Singapore will not be permitted to travelers who have been to the following countries within the past 14 days:

  • Mainland China
  • Iran
  • South Korea
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Spain

Q: Do all travelers entering Singapore go through medical testing?

Yes, as of 4 March 2020, travelers entering Singapore and exhibiting fever and/or other symptoms of respiratory illness are required to undergo a COVID-19 swab test at the checkpoint, regardless of travel history.

Q: What happens if I am tested positive on the Covid-19 swab test?

You will be sent to a hospital for follow-up.

Q: What happens if I am tested negative on the Covid-19 swab test?

You will be issued a 14 day ‘Stay-Home Notice’ (SHN) with immediate effect, regardless of the fact that your swab test was tested negative.

Learn more on the Covid-19 situation in Singapore via www.moh.gov.sg/covid-19.
Source: Government of Singapore website (www.gov.sg)


3. Malaysia

Travelers who are in or recently have been in the following countries have been banned from entering or transiting through Malaysia:

  • Iran
  • Italy
  • South Korea
  • Denmark (as of 14th March 2020)

Update: The Malaysian government has imposed a 14-day Movement Control Order from March 18 to 31, 2020 nationwide to curb the spread of the Covid-19 infection in Malaysia. This entails a ban on all mass gatherings for religious, sport, social and cultural activities. Additionally, all places of worship and business premises will be closed, with the exception of supermarkets, public markets, and sundry and convenience shops which sell daily essentials.

All foreign tourists have been banned from entering the country.

Source: The New Strait Times


4. India

All tourist and e-visas granted on or before March 11, 2020 have been suspended. The Indian Government has also advised against non-essential travel to India. Further, travelers who have arrived to India from China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Spain will be put into a 14-day quarantine.
Source: Bureau of Immigration, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India (boi.gov.in).


5. Indonesia

The Government of Indonesia has suspended entry to travelers who are or have recently been in the following regions/cities:

Iran : City of Tehran and Qom as well as the Province of Gilan

Italy : Region of Lombardi, Veneto, Emilia Romagna, Marche, and Piedmont

South Korea: City of Daegu and Province of Gyeongsangbuk-do

For all visitors from outside the aforementioned cities/regions in Iran, Italy and South Korea, a health certificate issued by the official Health Authorities from each respective country will be required. The Health Certificate must still be valid and shown to the airlines authorities upon check-ins. Upon landing in Indonesia, said travelers are expected to fill a Health Alert Card issued by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Indonesia (https://kemlu.go.id/)


6. Vietnam

Vietnam has stopped issuing visa on arrival to all foreign nationals, except for those travelling for diplomatic or official purposes. All visa exemptions will be suspended for countries that have over 500 cases of Covid-19 or over 50 new cases per day. Travellers from mainland China, Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk, or those who have transited through these areas within the past 14 days will be refused entry to Vietnam. Several tourist sites are presently shut down in an effort to contain the outbreak.

Q: What procedures do I have to go through as I enter Vietnam?

You are expected to submit a mandatory health declaration upon arrival. The form can be filled out electronically at airports and border crossings, or submitted online on the day of entry into Vietnam. Travelers are legally responsible to ensure the information is true and accurate and are required to comply with official health procedures.

Q: Which travelers are at risk of being put into quarantine upon arrival in Vietnam?

Those with symptoms of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and those whose travel history contains epidemiological risks. Such travelers will be expected to take a medical examination. Source: Vietnam Tourism (vietnam.travel)

7. Canada

As of Monday March 16, 2020, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the Canadian Government would close its borders to anyone who is not a citizen, permanent resident, or US citizen due to the escalating situation of the pandemic.

Source: Business Insider

8. France

The French Government has imposed a 15-day lockdown with 100,000 police forces mobilized across the country to enforce restrictions. The lockdown will go into effect beginning from mid-day on Tuesday March 17, 2020. Only trips to supermarkets, pharmacies and places of work will be allowed and all workers have been told to work from home where possible.

The European Union member states are also set to vote on a proposal to ban the entry of all non-essential foreign nationals for at least 30 days due to the pandemic.

Source: The Independent

* Neighbouring European countries Denmark, the Czech Republic and Poland have closed their borders to tourists while Germany has also closed three of its key borders amid over 4500 Coronavirus cases in the country.

Source: The Guardian

Determining Your Travel Rights

Consider clarifying key information on your travel insurance as well as refund and booking policies of the airline that you have made or plan to make a reservation or booking with. Many airlines have permitted passengers to rebook their flight free-of-charge, due to the pandemic.


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