Provinces will be sealed off this week after strict travel restrictions are to be imposed between the provinces to prevent a further spread of the rapidly spreading COVID-19 virus, Army Commander and Head of the National Operations Center for the Prevention of COVID-19 outbreak, General Shavendra Silva told Daily Mirror.
The President’s Office in a statement said the travel restrictions will remain in place till May 30, but the date of when it will be implemented is yet to be announced.
The statement said the President had agreed to impose travel restrictions between all provinces, cancel all gatherings and functions, limit the number of people who can enter and stay in commercial establishments, and isolate the areas where infected people are found in higher numbers.
However, the President emphasized that proper procedures should be followed to ensure that the lives of the people are not disrupted and that the essential services of the country are maintained when imposing these restrictions.
In a meeting held with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa this afternoon along with the COVID-19 task force and the health experts from the GMOA and the Sri Lanka Medical Association, all those present agreed to impose strict travel bans between the provinces from this week and not go in for a complete country wide lockdown.
All health experts present were of the view that a travel ban between province to province would help avoid a further health disaster while even within the provinces people should leave their homes only if necessary.
As a result of the latest decision, it has been agreed to allow only essential services including food trucks, health workers and apparel workers to travel between the provinces while all others will be banned from leaving their provinces.
The announcement on the new travel restrictions will be imposed soon after all the arrangements have been finalized.
Sri Lanka’s health services have been overburdened with a rise in the number of infected COVID-19 patients with independent experts calling for a lockdown claiming it would otherwise lead to a health catastrophe.
A senior official from the Health Ministry told Daily Mirror that they were expecting the number of infected patients to double in the coming days and may also reach a staggering 8000 cases reported in a single day. The Health Ministry has urged people to follow all health protocols and leave homes only if necessary.
As Muslims in Sri Lanka will celebrate the Eid Ul Fitr festival this week, marking the end if the Holy month of Ramadan, authorities have urged them all to stay home while the Wakfs Board had announced that Eid prayers in mosques across the country had been cancelled and people were urged to pray at home