COVID-19: Lankan Navy increases patrolling to prevent entry of illegal immigrants via sea routes

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Colombo, May 3 (PTI) The Sri Lankan Navy on Monday said it has deployed additional naval units to patrol the northern and western sea waters to prevent the illegal entry of migrants, including from India, which could heighten the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

The Navy's announcement comes as military personnel apprehended 21 Indian nationals on four Indian boats for allegedly trying to enter the island nation in the last fortnight.

The Navy said more ships would be deployed, along with Fast Attack Craft, to maintain high level of surveillance in the International Maritime Boundary Line.

The Navy has urged the local fishing community to remain vigilant and refrain from having any contact with foreign fishing vessels at sea and to provide information on any smuggling groups.

For the seventh day on Monday, the daily number of coronavirus cases reported in Sri Lanka crossed the 1,000-mark.

The country has recorded several cases of the deadly UK variant.

Health authorities have issued new tough guidelines, including banning wedding receptions and gatherings at religious sites, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

So far, the coronavirus has killed 696 people in Sri Lanka, along with 111,753 confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. PTI CORR IND AKJ IND