Sri Lanka travel ban hardened as nationwide curfew is imposed

An updated alert against all but essential travel to Sri Lanka has been issued as a state of emergency and nationwide curfew was imposed.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice due to the impact of the mounting economic crisis on the island does not apply to airside transit through its international airport.

But British travellers in Sri Lanka have been told to stay in their hotels and not travel amid violent protests, other than those with flight tickets who wanting to get to the airport in Colombo.

The travel warning came as Sri Lanka’s prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe reportedly told the military to do “whatever is necessary to restore order” after protesters stormed his office on Wednesday.

Wickremesinghe has been appointed acting president by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who has fled the country.

But the decision to leave him in charge triggered further protests demanding that the prime minister must also go, the BBC reported.

The FCDO’s latest travel advice said: “You should remain in your residence or hotel and not travel at this time. 

“Those with a flight ticket will be able to travel to the airport. 

“Sri Lanka is experiencing a severe economic crisis which has led to shortages of basic necessities including medicines, cooking gas, fuel and food. 

“There is a major shortage of fuel (diesel and petrol) affecting transport, businesses, and emergency services. The 1990 Ambulance Service is being severely impacted and may not be able to respond or not immediately, especially in remote parts of the country. 

“There are daily power cuts due to electricity rationing. This has led to protests and violent unrest. 

“Further protests, demonstrations, roadblocks and violent unrest could occur at short notice. 

“You should avoid political gatherings or protests and be wary of spontaneous large gatherings.”

Tui has further extended the cancellation of holidays to the country until July 31 due to the crisis.

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