‘Lockdown or not, prevent public gatherings’

  • Health Ministry urges new programme before reopening 
  • Dr. Sudarshini recommends addl. 2 weeks lockdown extension 

BY Buddhika Samaraweera 

With a decision on the extension of the current nationwide lockdown set to be taken soon, the Health Ministry has pointed out that necessary plans should be made immediately to prevent people from gathering in public places subsequent to the reopening of the country. 

During a media briefing held yesterday (1), when queried by the media as to whether the lockdown status should be extended in the current situation, the Health Ministry’s Communications Director, Public Health Services Deputy Director General (DDG) and Disaster Preparedness and Response Division Head Dr. Hemantha Herath said that people should refrain from gathering unnecessarily even if the country is reopened. 

He pointed out that a programme should be initiated in advance to prevent people from gathering at places of business, public transport and other public places, especially after the reopening of the country.

“We always recommend what can be implemented as health care professionals. In the future, whether the existing lockdown status is extended or not, plans must be made immediately to stop people from gathering in public places whenever the country reopens,” Dr. Herath added.

Meanwhile, when questioned by the media as to whether the lockdown that is currently in place should be extended further, Primary Health Care, Epidemics and Covid-19 Disease Control State Minister Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle said that it was her personal opinion that it should be extended for another week or two.

“I personally think that it is better to extend it for another week or two because the increase in the numbers of Covid-19 patients has not slowed down yet,” she noted.

The authorities, at a meeting held on 27 August, decided to extend the nationwide lockdown, officially referred to as a quarantine curfew, till 6 September given the surge in the number of Covid-19 patients and related deaths reported daily. Initially, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had declared 10 days of lockdown on 20 August.

As of 10 a.m. yesterday, Sri Lanka had recorded 9,185 Covid-19 deaths while the total number of infections stood at 440,302.