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Friday, October 22, 2021

Sri Lanka removed from UK’s red list

The United Kingdom has removed Sri Lanka from its red travel list with effect from 4 am on September 22, Sri Lankan High Commission in London announced yesterday.

The UK government is also doing away with the traffic light system of travel rules to replace it with a simpler list.

UK’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said with the latest travel relaxations, people returning from places such as Sri Lanka will no longer have to stay in hotel quarantine in UK. “PCR tests will no longer be required for fully vaccinated travellers returning to England,” British media said quoting Mr. Shapps.

Under the new testing regime, people who have had both jabs will not need to take a pre-departure test before leaving any country not on the red list.

Mr Shapps said later in October, they would be able to replace the day two PCR test with a cheaper, rapid lateral flow test.

Meanwhile, Wales said it would follow England in removing Turkey, Pakistan, the Maldives, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya from the red list. It would “carefully consider” the proposed changes on testing but said they are “not without risk”.

Sri Lanka remained on the red list for the last few months badly affecting Sri Lanka’s tourism.

In June, this year Britain added Sri Lanka, to its red list of destinations that require hotel quarantine on return to England.

In August, Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK, Saroja Sirisena expressed hope that UK would remove Sri Lanka from its red list in September. 

“We have been really disciplined [with Covid]. Our approach was criticized by some because we got the military involved to handle some sections of the operation, but we moved really quickly. We shut our airports and wouldn’t even let Sri Lankan nationals back in. The army set up hospitals in 10 days, and our healthcare system was phenomenal,” she said in an interview with UK’s Travel Weekly in August

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