COVID-19: Sri Lanka bans all state, private functions

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Colombo, Apr 25 (PTI) The Sri Lankan government on Sunday banned all state and private public functions in the next two weeks, citing rising number of coronavirus cases in the country.

'All state festivals planned for the next two weeks have been halted. The government has decided to ban all private sector functions, meetings and parties under quarantine regulations,' a statement from the President's Media Office read.

The reopening of universities which was scheduled for later this month has also been postponed.

The health authorities say a new COVID-19 variant is spreading in the island nation, which is infecting younger patients.

So far, the coronavirus has claimed 642 lives in Sri Lanka, along with 100,586 confirmed infections, according to Johns Hopkins University. The government has urged the people to restrict their movement and stay indoors, though a lockdown is not being enforced.

“If health issue is the only matter that we have to deal with then lockdowns are necessary, but other activities, specially the economic activities, must go on. So it is up to the public to act responsibly”, Army Commander Shavendra Silva, the head of the COVID-19 prevention task force, told reporters. PTI CORR IND