Home >News >World >Sri Lanka extends ban on incoming passenger flights indefinitely

Colombo: The Sri Lankan government on Saturday indefinitely closed all international airports for incoming passenger flights due to the nationwide lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic.

Only flights departing with passengers originating from Colombo will be allowed to operate during the lockdown period. Emergency diversions, freighter operations and technical landings would also be allowed.

The international airports for incoming passenger flights have been closed until further order, an airport authority official said.

This will be an extension of the previous ban that was put in force until April 7.

Sri Lanka's COVID-19 patient count has increased to 162 with three more cases on Saturday.

The death toll stands at 5. Some 25 patients have completely recovered, health officials said.

The country is currently on a complete lockdown with indefinite curfews in effect in key districts as the health authorities have warned of COVID-19 entering a critical phase in the first fortnight of April.

The police are urging arrival passengers to report to health authorities for quarantine purposes.

In a related development, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's office said that some 2,961 detainees have been released between March 17 until Saturday.

The move came after a committee recommendation. Those released were people who had failed to pay fines, fulfilled bail conditions, spent most of their jail terms having been sentenced for minor offences.

"The prison capacity is 10,000 but there are over 26,000. The current health situation in the country was also a consideration," the government said in a statement.

Recently, a riot broke out in a north central town prison over the coronavirus pandemic in which three prisoners were killed. PTI CORR CPS

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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