No lockdown in SL, but restrictions to remain

Sri Lanka’s Army Chief General Shavendra Silva said that a nationwide lockdown would not be imposed in the wake of the unabated spike in new Covid-19 cases but restrictions on public gatherings would come into immediate effect.

Silva, who also heads the National Operations Centre for Prevention of Covid-19 Outbreak, said in an announcement on Friday that following a meeting with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa it was decided that a countrywide lockdown was not required but the number of people attending weddings, funerals, and other public events should be limited, reports Xinhua news agency.

Accordingly, wedding attendees at places where the capacity is over 500 will be limited to 150 guests while the places of less than 500 capacity will be limited to 100 guests.

Also, a maximum of 25 people will be allowed to attend funerals at any given time with effect from midnight Saturday.

Silva said all state festivals will also be postponed until September 1, while the attendance of government servants should be decided by the head of the institution.

Sri Lanka is in the midst of a third wave of the pandemic with medical officials warning that the Delta Variant may be spreading beyond control.

Hospitals especially in the main urban Western Province have been filled with patients while officials have raised warnings of a possible oxygen shortage.

State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Channa Jayasumana was quoted in local media reports as saying that discussions were underway to import more PPE’s, PCR and Antigen test kits and oxygen from foreign partners.

He said there was a possibility of Covid-19 cases doubling or trebling in the coming weeks.

People throughout the country have been urged to strictly follow all health protocols as well as maintain wearing tight-fitting masks when leaving home.

Those caught violating these health guidelines will be arrested, the police have warned.

According to official figures, Sri Lanka’s total coronavirus cases has increased to 324,223, with 4,919 deaths.