Sri Lanka’s bio bubble explained | Condé Nast Traveller India


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Men catching fish in Sri Lanka. Photo: Matt Porteous

Sri Lanka is reopening to international tourists, with a great deal of care. You will need at least three COVID tests to start. And there’s little room for serendipity—your movement for the first 14 days will be restricted and monitored, if not forbidden (details here). This is part of the bio bubble in place for all tourists for now. There is buzz that flights from India will start soon. But while that happens, let’s get you up to speed on what to expect when you arrive in the Emerald Isle. 

What is a bio bubble? 

A bio-bubble is typically an arrangement that limits the interaction of a person to only those who have tested clean for COVID. It’s typically an arrangement for sportspersons or other large groups of people who arrive into a place. It could mean restrictions on movement, sometimes even within the hotel. And it almost always means regular COVID tests to make sure the integrity of the bubble is maintained. 

Sri Lanka’s bio bubble 

As per the guidelines, here’s how the bio-bubble will work:

  • Sri Lanka will put all visitors into a 14-day bio bubble. 
  • They can stay at one of the 52 hotels that have been classified as Level 1 ‘Safe and Secure’ (check the list here) and visit a specific set of tourist attractions (these). 
  • They can also visit sites that have been designated safe by the authorities, as long as they are escorted by a guide. 
  • The tour operator will have to arrange independent transport for each group of tourists. 
  • Their interactions with those outside the bubble will be restricted. They cannot meet other groups of tourists
  • Once the 14-day period has lapsed, and they clear another COVID test, travellers can move beyond the bubble and mingle with the locals. 

How can you plan your travel within the bio bubble? 

The bio bubble is not likely to spill water on your exciting travels in Sri Lanka. In fact, it has been created so you can travel more safely and with minimal risks. All you need to do is take a few extra steps to plan better:

  • Create a detailed itinerary with your guide or agency so they can share it with local health authorities in advance. This is mandatory.
  • Be sure to include any special arrangements, like stops for meals and bathroom breaks, so there are no surprises or unwanted issues when you travel
  • Make sure your travel agent has a thorough transport plan ready in advance, to convey to the required local authorities
  • Check the time slots that have been allocated for tourists at permitted sites, so as to avoid any confusion and maintain minimal interaction or contact with locals. You can find the sites and time slots here

Find everything you need to know about Sri Lanka’s bio bubble and more here



Updated: January 22, 2021 — 8:18 am

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