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Sri Lanka to reopen museums, cultural attractions from July 1

Sri Lanka museums

Colombo, June 27 (UITV/IANS)- Sri Lanka will re-open all museums and other cultural attractions from July 1 for local tourists after being shut for over three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cultural Affairs Ministry said.

In a statement on Friday, the Ministry said the decision to open on July 1 was aimed at helping domestic tourism which had been severely hampered due to the pandemc and all archaeological sites, monuments, national museums and other sites would reopen, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Public Reference Libraries run by the National Archives would also reopen.

All of these sites will maintain limits on the number of visitors and the people will have to adhere to COVID 19-guidelines issued by the Health Department.

Sri Lanka is also set to open its airports on August 1 for foreign tourists with strict health guidelines in place but decided to suspend short staying of foreign seafarers when transferring through the country, following the detection of several COVID-19 cases recently.

The Daily Mirror newspaper quoted Admiral Jayanath Colombage, Additional Secretary to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for Foreign Relations, as saying that about 20 Indian and seven Sri Lankan seafarers who arrived from Mumbai had tested positive for COVID-19 upon their arrival in the island nation.

A total of 122 seafarers arrived in the country from Mumbai.

"We first facilitated Sri Lankan seafarers and allowed others also to use our ports and airports to transfer seafarers, if they are interested. The 122 seafarers had undergone tests in India which were found negative for the virus. However, more than 20 were tested positive when they were tested again in Sri Lanka," he said.

Accordingly, the President has ordered to suspend the process of allowing foreign seafarers into the country if they are to stay for a short period, he added.

Sri Lanka has so far reported over 2,000 COVID-19 patients out of which over 1,600 have recovered and been discharged. The death toll stood at 11.