All shops ordered closed till 4 a.m. Monday 

  • Economic centres only allowed wholesale 

By Dinitha Rathnayake and Mihi Perera 


All shops were ordered to be closed from 11 p.m. yesterday (13) till 4 a.m. on 17 May, Police Media Spokesman Deputy Inspector General of Police Ajith Rohana said.

Strict island-wide travel restrictions are presently in force in the country from 11 p.m. yesterday till 4 a.m. on 17 May in order to prevent the further spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Head of the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of the Covid-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) Gen. Shavendra Silva said that the travel restrictions, which are similar to a curfew, will be strictly implemented and that therefore people have been urged to stay at home till 17 May when it is lifted at 4 a.m. After it is lifted at 4 a.m. on 17 May, it would be imposed again on a daily basis from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. till 31 May.

Meanwhile, 14 Police checkpoints have been established at undisclosed entry and exit points of the Western Province. Public Health Inspectors are also likely to conduct random Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) at these checkpoints.

DIG Rohana added that only essential services would be allowed when the Island-wide travel restrictions are in force but that if there is an emergency, the public can attend to hospitals and purchase medicines. Online delivery services for medicines will also be allowed to operate, according to DIG Rohana.

The system of using the last digit of the National Identity Card (NIC) introduced for when stepping out of one’s place of residence will be implemented from 17 May.

All economic centres, including the Manning Market, Peliyagoda Fish Market, and other markets can only operate wholesale during the travel-restricted period, stated DIG Rohana. He also stated that all food delivery services can operate today (14), tomorrow (15) and on 16 May during the travel restricted period.

Also, the people who return to or depart from the country should follow immigration and emigration laws, he said.

“If a person leaves or comes to Sri Lanka, he/she should follow the immigration and emigration rules and regulations and use a recognised airport or port.”

The Police will take strict action against fishermen who help people from India to come to Sri Lanka, including against their vessels. Rohana said that the Police have arrested two women and two children who travelled to Sri Lanka by boat from Rameswaram, India, and were hiding in a house in Gurunagar, Jaffna. Investigations disclosed that they had arrived in Mannar by boat from Rameswaram on 6 May and then travelled to Jaffna by boat. The group included a 61-year-old woman, her 34-year-old daughter, and her nine and five-year-old children. The arrestees were believed to be Sri Lankans who had fled to India but had returned by boat to Sri Lanka due to the spread of Covid-19 in India.