By JAMILA HUSAIN
Sri Lanka has decided not to issue a formal travel advisory against visiting China as yet, however, Sri Lankan citizens have been encouraged to halt all non-essential trips to the Hubei Province, whose capital is Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus, a top government source told Daily Mirror yesterday.
The source said that the reason for not issuing a formal travel advisory is that flights will have to continue normal two way operations between Colombo and China, to pave way for local citizens in China to return back home and to allow Chinese travelers who wish to travel back, to return.
The source said that China had made commendable efforts to contain the rapid spread of the coronavirus and they were confident that it will be controlled in due course.
Several countries, earlier this week raised their ‘alert levels’ for travel to China and is advising their citizens to “reconsider travel to all Chinese cities” because of increased risk of the virus. The countries include US, Canada, UK, and India. British Airways yesterday stopped flights to Beijing and Shanghai in order to stem the spread of the coronavirus outbreak with no bookings possible until March at the earliest.
So far the deadly coronavirus has killed 132 people in China after 26 more died in the last 24 hours.
And the number of confirmed cases has leaped to 5,974. Sri Lanka has so far reported one confirmed case.