Sri Lanka Update

The Foreign Office has updated its advice for travellers to Sri Lanka:

There were outbreaks of violence across parts of North Western Province on 13 May, and an island-wide night-time curfew was imposed.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) continues to advise against all but essential travel to Sri Lanka, due to the current evolving security situation following the attacks on 21 April 2019. This advice does not apply if transiting Colombo airport, providing that passengers remain airside in the airport.

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Sri Lanka. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. On 21 April 2019, bombs were used to attack 3 churches and 3 hotels in Sri Lanka: in central Colombo, in the northern suburb of Colombo Kochchikade, and in Negombo roughly twenty miles north of Colombo; and in the east of the country in Batticaloa. According to official figures more than 250 people were killed, including at least 8 British nationals.

Security has been stepped up across the island and a State of Emergency remains in place. The Sri Lankan authorities have made a number of arrests in relation to the attacks, and security operations are ongoing, including controlled explosions of suspicious packages and vehicles, and temporary evacuations of buildings. The authorities have also announced emergency regulations that, until further notice, ban the wearing of clothing or objects that conceal the face in such a way that prevents the wearer’s identification.

There were outbreaks of violence across parts of North Western Province on 13 May, and an island-wide night-time curfew was imposed

If you’re in Sri Lanka, you should:

  • remain vigilant, keep up to date with developments and follow the advice of local security authorities and hotel security staff;
  • keep a low profile, avoid crowded public places, large gatherings (including religious gatherings and places of worship) and any demonstrations. All of the attacks on 21 April were carried out either in places of worship or in places where foreign visitors were affected. Any further attacks may be targeted against similar locations;
  • keep in touch with family and friends, ensuring they are aware of any plans you may have.