Buddhist pilgrimages typically involve stops in Bodh Gaya, Varanasi, and Sarnath in India, along with Lumbini, the site of the Buddha’s birth, in Nepal. Sri Lanka’s prime minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, 74, visited Bodh Gaya in February.
Before this week, there had only been one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka. A 44-year-old Chinese woman from Hubei Province was confirmed to have the disease on 27 January. She had arrived in Sri Lanka as a tourist and was released from hospital in Sri Lanka on 19 February.
Wednesday’s confirmed case involves a 52-year-old Sri Lankan tour guide, who had been leading a group of Italian tourists. The man has been moved to an isolation ward in the Infectious Diseases Hospital in North Colombo. The authorities are gathering information about the full travel itinerary of the Italian tour group.