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Enhanced Precautionary Measures Against COVID-19 at Bandaranaike International Airport

March 11, 2020

As COVID-19 infection has affected several continents of the world becoming a pandemic status despite all the precautionary actions taken by such States, World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 viral outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) at present. The Government of Sri Lanka has decided to implement a series of precautionary measures to mitigate the spread of disease through air travel and to minimize the potential of spreading the disease to the community. 

As the main gateway to the country, Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) has been taking measures against spreading COVID-19 and to safeguard the health of airport workers, passengers, visitors and the community.

Quarantine Passengers Arriving from Italy, Republic of Korea and Iran 
 On the precautionary measures taken by the Health Authorities of the Government of Sri Lanka for quarantining of the passengers entering Sri Lanka from Italy, Republic of Korea and Iran and passengers entering Sri Lanka with a travel history to Italy, Republic of Korea and Iran within the past 14 days. 

These passengers will be subjected to a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days at designated quarantine  Centers at Batticaloa Campus and the Kandakadu Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre in Welikanda, in the Eastern Province. 

Accordingly, the passengers arriving from these three destinations and passengers having a travel history of these destinations within the past 14 days are processed through a special terminal after as they disembark. The passengers who arrived on the 10th of March 2020 were immediately directed to the coaches to be taken the Quarantine Centers. The 1st group of 159 passengers who arrived on Korean Air Flight KE473 were directed to Batticaloa Campus Quarantine Center, and meanwhile passengers who had a travel history to Italy, Republic of Korea and Iran were also taken to the same quarantine centers. During the 10th March 2020 and on 11th March 2020 (till 10.00hrs) 588 passengers who had a travel history to Italy, Republic of Korea and Iran arrived were taken to the Batticaloa Campus quarantine center. 

Mandatory to complete the Health Declaration Form (HDF)
Each passenger and member of aircraft operating crew arriving in Sri Lanka shall in person complete the Health Declaration Form (HDF) compulsorily and hand over the same to the Public Health Inspectors or any other Authorized Officials when entering Sri Lanka through any of the international airports. Every information sought in the HDF shall be supplied as applicable and be signed by the respective passenger crew member, who makes the declaration.

BIA adopts best practices 
Big Cleaning Program was conducted as a Precautionary Measure to Prevent “COVID-19”
As part of the enhanced cleaning initiative at BIA, a Big Cleaning Program was conducted for the third time during this year on 3rd March 2020. Both the terminal building and the ancillary the areas were cleaned & disinfected with the participation of more than 200 cleaning staff at BIA. 

Increased frequency in cleaning and disinfecting of high-contact areas
In addition the measures taken, the frequencies of cleaning efforts in the terminal areas have also been increased. Further, as cleaning solutions, disinfectants are now used for cleaning. The focus of the extra cleaning efforts and disinfecting take place in the critical areas on frequent basis. There has also been an increase in the frequency of toilet cleaning, emptying of bins and wiping of sinks and countertops across the airport. Hand sanitizers are now available for use across the whole airport.

Temperature screening of passengers at BIA remains vigilant
Passengers on all arrival flights are subject to temperature screening. Thermal scanners have been installed at BIA to identify potentially infected travelers. 

Encourage staff for personal hygiene 
Airport staff is encouraged to maintain good hand hygiene, wear masks and seek medical attention promptly if they feel unwell. 

These measures are implemented jointly with all key stakeholders including the military forces and under the direct guidance of Ministry of Health. The Chairman AASL Major. General (Rtd.) G. A. Chandrasiri, the Board of Directors and the senior management of AASL are vigilantly attending to the requirements by taking every possible measure to arrest the situation and facilitate the passengers. In order to enhance the passenger convenience during these exercise, refreshments, telephone facilities, and sanitary facilities are provided. 

The Chairman AASL requests the support and patience of all passengers and airport users for the quarantine process at this global pandemic situation by considering it as an obligation towards the well-being of the country.