COVID-19: Sri Lankans set for week-long lockdown

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Colombo, May 24 (PTI) Sri Lankans are set to enter a seven-day lockdown period starting Tuesday, as the country continues to register record numbers of COVID-19 deaths and infections.

'We will only relax the current travel restrictions at 4 am tomorrow (May 25). This will enable people to buy their essentials but no vehicular movement will be allowed,' Army chief and Head of COVID-19 Prevention Task Force Shavendra Silva said on Monday.

The restrictions will be again reinforced at 11 pm tomorrow and will be continued till May 31, he said.

Silva said similarly the first week of June will also be in lockdown, though exceptions are to be made on June 4 and 7.

Sri Lanka has been under a semi-lockdown the whole of May, with a complete ban on gatherings, including weddings, schools and offices.

Only people in essential services are allowed to travel. Public bus and train services have been suspended. All inbound international passenger flights are also suspended.

The tough restrictions have been implemented after a tremendous spike in cases following the Sinhalese New Year in mid-April.

Sri Lanka recorded its highest single-day fatalities from COVID-19 on Saturday last at 46 deaths. As per the latest official data, the country's COVID-19 death toll stands at 1,210 and total cases at 164,201.

Since May 1, the country has recorded over 56,000 cases.

Top medical associations have demanded a blanket lockdown for at least two weeks to stop the chain of transmission.

Meanwhile, the police said over 600 people have been arrested in the last week for violating lockdown rules. PTI CORR IND AKJ IND