COVID TRAVEL UPDATES
 

Bali, Sri Lanka & Morocco 
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                 Thinking of joining us on the SERENDIPITY ART RETREAT in Sri Lanka ?              

 

In the interests of all participants on this art retreat, enrollment will only be open to those who are double vaccinated.

My personal apologies to anyone for whom this will be an obstacle. 

 

ART RETREAT SAFETY EXTRAS

 

  • We are in travel bubble: our retreat hotel is booked for the exclusive use of our group only

  • We travel in a luxury coach with double space seating and a window seat for all 12 participants (it's a 33-seater converted to carry only 18 passengers - lots of leg room, personal space, and pefect vision to the movie screen - I will be ocassionally showing  interviews with Sri Lanka's significant artists).

 

 

       

 

 

 

 

THE OPTIONAL POST-RETREAT  8-DAY ISLAND TOUR SAFETY EXTRAS

 

  • Our 8-day post-retreat tour itinerary avoids any site or attraction with enclosed spaces  (for example, The Tooth Temple, in Kandy). Instead, we will be enjoying the extraordinary natural beauty of Sri Lanka and its archaeology, cuisine, beautiful hotels, service and hospitality for which the Teardrop Isle is justly famed.

  • Out trip includes reserved window seats in the A-class observation car of the train which travels the spectacular mountain route from Dambulla to Nuwraya Elia. You have the option to travel in our coach if you prefer.

  • We travel in a luxury coach with double space seating and a window seat for all 12 participants (as above, it's a 33-seater converted to carry only 18 passengers)

  • Our hotels are all spacious Level-1Safe and Secured hotels with plenty of recreational space and private dining facilites 

                                           

                                             ORGANISING YOUR VISA and ENTRY REQUIREMENTS (details below)

  • On-line Electronic Visa Application (EVA) is easy and you'll get your reply within 2 days. It will include a REFERENCE NUMBER. You'll send this to me and I will handle the next part on your behalf.  

                                                                    

 

      If you would like to chat with Anna about any aspect of this retreat or tour please don't hesitate to       

                                  contact me here in Sri Lanka   on Whats App +94 75 660 7713                                  

 24 Sept, 2021: A personal perspective from Sri Lanka  if you are thinking to join The Serendipity Art Retreat

I've been here in Sri Lanka since February 2020 where, from the outset of Covid-19, the government took immediate and strict measures to limit the spread of Covid on the island. I've been been impressed by the consistent level of discipline I've seen amongst Sri Lankans. Everyone continues to wear a mask and safety protocols in shops and public offices are observed from a spirit, as it seems to me, of personal action for the public good ... maybe it's Buddhism at work in the most practical of senses.

If I compare the response and observance to my home country Australia, with its embarassing riots after a couple of weeks of lockdown and constant carping at the government for taking tough measures on behalf of public health, I can only be more impressed with what I have lived through here these last 20 months.

During this time I've been travelling throughout the island from literally one end to the other, very safely, enjoying monuments almost to myself - I had the National Museum in Colombo to myself for a whole day 2 months ago! 

I live directly beneath the flight path close to the airport (see my blog story), and whilst air traffic has been a constant all year, it's encouraging to notice that this week flights have already been more frequent - a swift response to the island's new 'open' status.

So if you're fully vaccinated you no longer have to quarantine on your return home (UK, USA and Europe, plus see the list below). Yes, we're currently on the 'Amber List' - Covid continues to be picked up amongst those where communal living is cultural or without choice, and crowded work places  -garment factories - were hotspots, but on SEPT. 23, 2021 Reuters reported :"the average number of new infections reported each day in Sri Lanka falls by more than 3,400 over the last 3 weeks, 62% of its previous peak. COVID-19 infections are decreasing in Sri Lanka, with 1,749 new infections reported on average each day - that’s 31% of the peak. 

As of August 23rd, 95% of the population over 30 years vaccinated with1 dose and 51% with 2 doses. Now, a month later, children over 12 are eligible for Pfizer vaccines and the general population is benefitting from a World Bank loan to Sri Lanka to complete its vaccination schedule within 2 months.  

OPERATION FREEDOM Sri Lanka is in the final stretch of a fully vaccinated island:  September 23rd (official link)

So, as Sri Lanka opens it's doors to the world once again, 'pulling out all the stops to ensure that every precautionary measure has been set in place to make travel here as safe, secure and serene as possible', I encourage you to read this information from the Lankan government as you prepare to visit the island, or if you are thinking about it.

You'll find 'things you need to know ' for your safety as you make your way to a place which remains, as British travel writer John Gimlette wrote in his 2015  book Elephant Compex, "the most beautiful island I've ever visited".

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Finally, in regards to best time to travel - December and January are by far the best months to be here - it's cooler and drier. Cautious travellers will prefer to avoid 20 Dec -10 January as Sri Lankans abroad return to celebrate with family - yes, it's a mainly Buddhist country, but even they get in on the Christmas act! (Sri Lankans love any excuse for a festival).

And now that Sri Lanka is open and ready for your business prices will quickly return to normal as sun-seekers flock back - in 2019 it was voted 'best warm weater destination' by USA Today. So this new travel window from October 4, 2021 is a really good opportunity to visit the island, taking advanrage of optimal climate, competitive prices, fewer tourists, with more personal space, less traffic and a government demonstrably ready to make you welcome and keep you safe.

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       Sri Lanka     

    Latest update  22 SEPTEMBER 2021     

Important notice for passengers travelling from the United Kingdom


 

From  Wednesday 22 September : 0400hrs Sri Lanka and Maldives will be removed from the Red list (along with Kenya, Oman, Turkey, Pakistan , Bangladesh and Egypt).

Travelling from UK to Sri Lanka and to Maldives will be now easier for those who have been fully vaccinated in UK/Europe/USA (and 17 other countries that UK will recognise from 04th October i.e. Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Dominica, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan) They no longer need to go in to quarantine (managed/paid or home quarantine) Pre-departure testing and D2 test will still have to be taken.

Those who have been vaccinated outside these countries even if they are fully vaccinated according to their local standards and those who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated will have to go through  Day 2 PCR, Day 8 PCR, 10 days self-isolation and option of test to release at Day 5.

That means If you are coming in from Sri Lanka to UK and you are vaccinated in Sri Lanka (irrespective Astra Zenica, Pfizer etc) you still have to do this 10 day self-isolation with the option to get released after 5 days.

From 04th October while Red list will remain, Green and Amber will be replaced by a two-tier entry of 1. recognised fully vaccinated or 2. non-vaccinated/non-recognised and “recognised fully vaccinated” will no longer need a Pre Departure test. D2 tests will still be needed.

REPORTED 20 September 2021 (Important notice for passengers travelling from the United Kingdom (srilankan.com)

For participants on the Serendipity Art Retreat with Este Macleod and Anna in Sri Lanka, Visa Application and Entry Certification will be handled on your behalf by Anna's certified agent in Colombo. For all enquiries, please contact Anna.

PCR testing facility at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) was declared open today and will commence  testing from Saturday (25)

The established PCR testing laboratory will issue reports in three hours for the tourists who arrive at the Katunayake International Airport.

At least 1,000 tourists arrive in the country every day, and each tourist will be charged US$40 by the Tourism Promotions Authority to direct them to the PCR tests at the airport.

This laboratory will be operated under the guidance and regulation of the Health Ministry using technology in line with the international standards This will put an end to the mandatory hotel quarantine process.

REPORTED 23 September, 2021 PCR tests for overseas tourists at BIA from Saturday: Minister - Breaking News | Daily Mirror

Average number of new infections reported each day in Sri Lanka falls by more than 3,400 over the last 3 weeks, 62% of its previous peak. COVID-19 infections are decreasing in Sri Lanka, with 1,749 new infections reported on average each day - that’s 31% of the peak.

REPORTED : REUTERS: 24  SEPT, 2021 Sri Lanka: the latest coronavirus counts, charts and maps (reuters.com)

                                                          

Important notice for passengers travelling from the United States

If you are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine or a vaccine authorized by emergency use by the World Health Organization:

  • You do NOT have to get tested before leaving the United States, unless your destination requires it.  

  • You do NOT have to self-quarantine after you arrive in the United States.

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