By Sheain Fernandopulle
As the Government decides to completely reopen all airports, the Health Ministry said it had taken steps to rectify the mistakes that happened with a group of Ukrainian tourists, when the airports were reopened from December 26 as a pilot project.
There were reports that Ukraine tourists, who arrived in Sri Lanka failed to follow health protocols recommended by the Sri Lanka Government.
Addressing the media, Deputy Director-General of Public Health Services, Dr Hemantha Herath said the pilot project was the culmination of five-month-long discussions and analysis in collaboration with the Tourism Ministry and other relevant stakeholders.
“We knew that such mistakes would happen with Ukraine tourists, who first arrived in Sri Lanka after the reopening of airport on December 26. That’s why we carried out it as a pilot project,” he said.
However, he said the Health Ministry together with Tourism Ministry had now identified the vulnerable areas and hope to rectify them quickly.
“We have already issued guidelines to all tourists who have arrived in Sri Lanka and who are expecting to come to Sri Lanka. What we can do is to monitor the process whereas it is not practical for the health officials to act as watchmen at places where tourists visit,” Dr Herath underlined.
“The media also have the responsibility to inform relevant officials when tourists failed to follow health guidelines,” he added.
Meanwhile, he said 2,560 beds were remaining to treat Covid-19 patients out of 11,880 beds and added 8,096 beds had already been occupied by patients in 71 hospitals as of yesterday.
Dr Herath also said as the Government was preparing to reopen schools, it was of utmost importance that the students abide by the health guidelines without leading a cluster to emerge from schools.
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