Lockdown or restrictions for Christmas? 

  • ‘No surprise if either or both imposed,’ says Health Ministry 

BY Buddhika Samaraweera 

The imposition of a national lockdown or travel restrictions in view of the impending festive season dawning towards the end of the year would not be a surprise in light of the grave and bitter lessons the country has learnt from not imposing such during festive seasons in the recent past, the Health Ministry noted. 

Speaking at a media briefing held yesterday (23), Health Ministry Communications Director, Public Health Services Deputy Director General (DDG), and Disaster Preparedness and Response Division Head Dr. Hemantha Herath said: “We learnt a great lesson in December last year and in April this year. It is up to the Government to decide whether to impose travel restrictions or a lockdown status, taking into account the circumstances. However, it would not be something of a surprise if the country would be locked down or travel restrictions are imposed in view of the upcoming festive season.” 

He further added that it is therefore important for everyone to act responsibly by following the proper Covid-19-related health guidelines in order to ensure that the country would not have to be locked down, given the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic during previous festive seasons.

Pointing out further that there is an increase in the number of Covid-19 deaths reported daily, Dr. Herath said that the reasons for that should be looked into. He added that a special team from the Health Ministry’s Epidemiology Unit is analysing the matter.

Speaking to the media on Monday (22), he said that currently, the number of Covid-19 infections concerning which the health authorities find it difficult to identify the source of, has increased as a percentage. “However, we do not see it as serious enough to change the existing disease control mechanisms,” he said.

He also said that the number of Covid-19 cases reported daily has risen to about 700 at present and that it is a serious condition. Therefore, he added that it is very important for the people to abide by the health guidelines for the further control of the disease.

According to the Epidemiology Unit, Sri Lanka, as of 8.30 p.m. yesterday (23) had recorded 14,182 Covid-19 deaths while the total number of infections stood at 558,860, of which a total of 527,528 patients have recovered.