The airport will reopen from January 21 despite challenges, Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said.
“The decision to open the country was not a sudden one. We have been preparing for this since July last year. Together with the health sector we created the guidelines. But due to the second wave of Covid-19 we were unable to implement that,” he said.
The minister also said that the government had decided to increase the number of flights to bring down Sri Lankans from abroad from next week.
Accordingly, it has been decided to use five aircraft a week to bring Sri Lankans from the Middle East region.
“So far we have brought down about 70,000 Sri Lankans from abroad. At least 60,000 of them were brought in with the assistance of the government. Another 10,000 Sri Lankans arrived in the country to quarantine at hotels at their cost,” Minister Ranatunga said.
“The President has decided to expedite the process of bringing down Sri Lankans from overseas. Accordingly we have decided to increase the number of flights carrying Sri Lankans from the Middle East from two to five. Each plane can carry about 280 passengers,” the minister said.(Darshana Sanjeewa Balasuriya)