Lanka's Western province to go under lockdown following surge in COVID-19 cases

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Colombo, Oct 28 (PTI) Sri Lanka's Western province, which includes the most populous cities of Colombo and Gampaha, will be placed under curfew from midnight on Thursday following a surge in the COVID-19 cases in recent days, police said on Wednesday.

The curfew would remain till the early hours of November 2.

Authorities said the curfew would serve as a deterrent to people trying to make use of the long weekend starting from Friday.

The move comes after over 60 different police divisions were placed under curfew since October 4 due to an increase in the number of coronavirus cases caused by infections at a garment export factory and the largest fish wholesale market.

The country recorded 541 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the national tally to 8,413 on Wednesday. The total number of cases on October 4 were 3,396.

The number of patients still under treatment is 3,923.

Although the health authorities ruled out community spread, the contact tracing from the fish market infections, which have spread far and wide throughout the island, has become difficult.

The government has refused to go into a total lockdown fearing its economic impact.

Sri Lanka ended its lockdown in May after imposing it in March when the first COVID-19 case was detected in the island. PTI Corr RS RS