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The United States Department of State has issued a travel advisory warning against travel to Sri Lanka due to COVID transmission concerns.

Amid the rising cases of Covid-19 in Sri Lanka, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a ‘Level 4' travel health notice for Sri Lanka, stating that "due to the current situation in Sri Lanka, even fully vaccinated travellers may be at risk of getting and spreading Covid-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Sri Lanka."

The United States has been able to control the pandemic to a certain extent and has relaxed regulations by allowing fully vaccinated Americans to go without masks except in specified places.

SLPP national organiser Basil Rajapaksa had left for the U.S. earlier this month before Sri Lanka beefed up travel restrictions and suspended all inbound international passenger flights. First Lady Ioma Rajapaksa had also left for the U.S. for the birth of her grandchild.

The announcement by the U.S. State Department will also have an impact on their return to the island as both of them are U.S. citizens.

Government's stance:

Co-Cabinet Spokesman Dr. Ramesh Pathirana noted that the U.S. State Department's 'Level 4' travel advisory for Sri Lanka will not be a long term measure.

The "Level 4: Do Not Travel" advisory is the highest cautionary level in the department's hierarchy of warnings.

He said that State Department has updated the travel advisory for Sri Lanka from Level 3 to Level 4 based solely on the prevailing COVID-19 situation in the country.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department had also issued a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” warning on Japan yesterday (25).