Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Colombo, Sri Lanka

July 22, 2020

Location:  Sri Lanka  

Event:  COVID-19 in Sri Lanka.  New information is listed in the top bullets. 

Recent Updates:  

  • The Sri Lanka Ministry of Health confirmed 2,730 cases of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka.   
  • American citizens with questions on entry requirements to the United States may visit the Department of Homeland Security COVID-19 website.
  • Parliamentary elections are scheduled on 5 August 2020.  Campaigning may lead to large, unplanned gatherings.  The U.S. Embassy advises citizens to avoid large gatherings for reasons of personal safety and COVID-19 related health precautions.   

Sheltering in place in Sri Lanka: 

The Sri Lankan Department of Immigration previously extended the validity period of all types of visas issued to all foreigners currently in Sri Lanka up to July 11, 2020. For more information on how to apply for an extension and other queries, please visit the following the visa extension website.  

The Sri Lankan government is taking exceptional measures to combat the further spread of COVID-19 and advises travelers to observe local health regulations, in addition to the laws and customs of Sri Lanka.  There may continue to be checkpoints and an enhanced police presence in the city and the surrounding areasNew travel restrictions can arise, and curfews can be imposed with short notice.  Visit the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health Epidemiology Unit COVID-19 website for the latest updates.

The Embassy is encouraging our staff and all travelers to closely observe best hygiene practices: avoid crowds and crowded venues, maintain physical distancing, wash your hands frequently, and wear a mask – consistent with Sri Lankan guidance – when you cannot maintain physical distancing.    

Returning to the United States: 

On March 19, 2020, the Department of State issued a global Level 4 Health Advisory (Do Not Travel) advising U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.  U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.   If an American Citizen is determined to have COVID-19, he or she is likely to be placed in mandatory quarantine in a local government hospital, consistent with Sri Lankan protocols.  The Embassy is severely limited in its ability to visit individuals under quarantine and may be unable, as a practical matter, to secure the release of U.S. citizens until their complete recovery.    

Several airlines are providing limited commercial flights departing Sri Lanka.  Departure flight availability and scheduling change frequently.  Travelers should be prepared for additional travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice. We strongly encourage travelers to depart as soon as possible as scheduled flights may be cancelled with little advance warning.  There are no plans for chartered or other evacuation flights from Sri Lanka to the United States.    

Actions to Take: