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Maldives Travel Updates: Sri Lanka extends visas by 30-days

Mariyam Malsa
20 March 2020, MVT 11:05
A security personnel wearing a facemask stands guard at the entrance of Sri Lanka's National Institute of Infectious Diseases (IDH) near Colombo on March 12, 2020. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP)
Mariyam Malsa
20 March 2020, MVT 11:05

Sri Lankan authorities decided to grant a 30-day extension on all categories of visas held by foreigners in Sri Lanka between March 14 to April 12.

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.

The Sri Lankan government announced an indefinite halt on granting on-arrival visas to all countries, including Maldives, on March 15 amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Any individuals acquiring the 30-day extension are urged to visit the Visa Division of Sri Lanka's Department of Immigration on April 8 or 9 to pay required fees and have their passports stamped.

The extension is intended to address difficulties caused by the cancellation of numerous international flights.

Additionally, any individual that arrived in Sri Lanka between March 1 to 15 from Iran, South Korea and any European countries are urged to register at the closest police station or call 119.

Regions included under Maldives' travel ban

- Mainland China: Effective February 4.

- Iran: Effective February 26.

- North Gyeongsang Province and South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea: Effective March 3.

- Italy: Effective March 8.

- Bangladesh: Effective from March 10 to March 24.

- Spain: Effective March 15.

- Île-de-France and Grand Est, France: Effective March 15.

- Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg, Germany: Effective March 15.

- Malaysia: Effective March 17.

- United Kingdom: Effective March 19.

In addition to the above, persons travelling in from other countries, including India and other European nations, may be subject to evaluation on a case by case basis.

Persons travelling from countries listed above may enter Maldives if they have spent more than 14 days in transit at a country that is not under a ban.

Nevertheless, health experts and travel consultants strongly advise that people refrain from travelling between countries at this time, including returning to one's home country. A person is still likely to contract the disease during travel, at the country of travel origin or even at the airport, as exposure to other individuals would be higher.

Given the incubation period for the disease, this person can carry the strain into the arriving destination with no knowledge of doing so. Should that happen, a number of vulnerable people could be exposed to the virus and spread it to the region once more.

Therefore, the safest decision is being vigilant about cleanliness, maintaining immunity, following the guidelines published by WHO and HPA, until the spread of COVID19 is globally contained.

The World Health Organization has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected more than 220,800 and claimed over 8,980 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 85,770 have recovered.

Maldives currently has 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including a tourist couple on a liveaboard, two cases from Anantara Dhigu, five foreign nationals from Kuredu Island Resort as well as two foreign citizens from Sandies Bathala and Kuramathi Maldives each. No locals have tested positive for the virus as of yet.

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