- Reviewed: 19 March 2020, 14:10 NZDT
- Still current at: 3 April 2020
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There have been confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Sri Lanka.
Local authorities in countries and territories with confirmed cases of COVID-19 may impose containment measures including travel restrictions and quarantine requirements to prevent the spread of the virus.
Such measures may be imposed at short notice and specific details may change rapidly, including where and to whom they apply to and for how long. All travellers should stay informed of measures being taken by authorities in the areas they are travelling to. We recommend that all travellers consult the official website or the nearest embassy or consulate of your country or territory of destination to find out about any border controls and other measures that may apply to you.
For information on countries and territories which have COVID-19 related border restrictions affecting foreign nationals, including travellers in transit, please check the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website before you travel. IATA provides a comprehensive list of all countries and territories that have imposed COVID-19 related border restrictions and is being continually updated.
As part of its response to managing the COVID-19 outbreak, the New Zealand Government has some temporary travel restrictions in place in New Zealand. Please refer to the New Zealand Ministry of Health website for up to date information.
There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Sri Lanka.
Attacks in public places, including in places targeting foreigners are possible.
On 21 April 2019, multiple bomb blasts occurred at churches and hotels in Colombo and other parts of Sri Lanka causing more than 250 deaths and 500 injuries. In response, the country’s security presence has increased.
New Zealanders should be aware that curfews (typically restricting movement in the evening) can be imposed at short notice. New Zealanders are advised to follow instructions and restrictions issued by the local authorities including the regulations currently banning any clothing that conceals the face to the extent that a person’s identification is hidden.
New Zealanders throughout Sri Lanka are advised to exercise a high degree of personal security awareness at all times and remain alert during religious or national festivals. We also advise avoiding large public gatherings and exercising caution in areas with large crowds. Further attacks, including low-scale or opportunistic attacks, cannot be ruled out.
Political Situation/Civil Unrest
While significantly reduced since the end of the conflict in May 2009 between the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), some additional security measures remain in the northern and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka. Military and police checkpoints are sometimes established and roads can be closed without warning.
Protests, demonstrations and political rallies occasionally lead to isolated civil unrest in Sri Lanka. We advise New Zealanders to avoid all demonstrations, rallies and large crowds as they have the potential to turn violent with little warning. Be aware of your surroundings, monitor local news and follow the advice of local authorities.
While most demining operations since the civil war are completed, landmines may still be present in more remote areas of the northern and eastern provinces. If you are travelling to these areas it is advisable to remain on well-used roads and paths and look out for any signs warning of landmines.
Incidents of violent crime against foreigners, although infrequent, have been reported in Sri Lanka, including sexual offences, harrassment and theft. We advise New Zealanders to exercise security awareness and guard personal belongings carefully. Women travellers should take particular care and avoid travelling alone, especially at night.
There have been reports of drink spiking so care should be taken to ensure your drink is not left unattended. We recommend being cautious about accepting drinks from strangers or recent acquaintances.
Credit card fraud, including credit card skimming, can occur in Sri Lanka. New Zealanders are advised to use cash wherever possible and take extra care when paying with credit cards or withdrawing money from ATMs. We advise covering PIN numbers when entering them, keeping cards safe and carefully checking credit card statements to ensure no fraudulent charges are present.
General Travel Advice
New Zealanders are advised to carry photo identification, or a photocopy of their passport, with them at all times and produce this if asked by authorities. Respect religious and social traditions. Posing for a photograph next to a statue of Buddha is illegal in Sri Lanka, as can be displaying jewellery, tattoos or clothing associated with Buddhism.
New Zealanders travelling or living in Sri Lanka should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.
New Zealanders in Sri Lanka are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The New Zealand High Commission New Delhi, India is accredited to Sri Lanka
Street Address Sir Edmund Hillary Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021, India Telephone +91 11 4688 3170 Fax +91 11 4688 3165 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site http://www.nzembassy.com/india Hours Mon - Fri 0830 - 1700 hrs
New Zealand Honorary Consulate Colombo, Sri Lanka
Street Address 329 Park Road, Colombo 5 Postal Address +94 11 2501139 Mobile +94 7777 55551 Email email@example.com
See our regional advice for South East Asia
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Accredited New Zealand High Commission India
Sir Edmund Hillary Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021, India
Telephone: +91 11 4688 3170
Fax: +91 11 4688 3165
Hours: Mon - Fri 0830 - 1700 hrs