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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka is welcoming tourists again after keeping the doors closed to visitors for nearly 10 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The government’s action Thursday is seen as an effort to revive the island nation’s tourism industry, which has been badly hit by the pandemic. Tourism accounts for about 5% of Sri Lanka’s economy and before the pandemic employed 250,000 people directly and up to 3 million indirectly.
Under the reopening, visitors must be tested in their country 72 hours prior to their flight, when they arrive at their hotel and again seven days later. They will be allowed to travel in 14 tourism zones in a “travel bubble,” without mixing with local people. About 180 hotels have been earmarked to provide accommodations for the tourists.
THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
Britain hits another record daily virus deaths. Ontario’s leader asks Biden for 1 million vaccine shots due to Pfizer shortfall for Canada. India to start delivering Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to neighboring countries. Expert panel says both China and the WHO should have acted faster to prevent the pandemic. Surging infections give Spain’s new emergency hospital in Madrid a chance for use. Italy ponders suing Pfizer for vaccine delays.