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'Maldivians can still enter Sri Lanka': Foreign Ministry

Fathmath Shaahunaz
12 March 2020, MVT 09:48
Travellers queuing at Bandaranaike International Airport in Sri Lanka.
Fathmath Shaahunaz
12 March 2020, MVT 09:48

Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday night dispelled headlines circulated by local media alleging that Sri Lanka has cancelled on-arrival visas for all countries including Maldives.

An official of the foreign ministry explained that Maldivians can travel visa-free to Sri Lanka and thus, can still enter the neighbouring country.

Some media outlets claimed that Maldives was included in Sri Lanka's entry ban after the nation announced its decision to indefinitely suspend the on-arrival visa facility at the airport.

The Colombo Gazette confirmed the decision, which was taken a day after Sri Lanka recorded its first local case of the COVID-19. The patient is a 52-year-old tour guide who recently led an Italian tour group, according to Sri Lankan media.

Sri Lanka is the most-frequented destination for Maldivians travelling abroad for medical purposes and vacation. Approximately 13,000 Maldivians presently reside in Sri Lanka for education and work.

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