President extends provincial restrictions till end October

  • Health Ministry urges adherence to guidelines 

BY Buddhika Samaraweera 

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has, citing the current Covid-19 pandemic situation, instructed the relevant authorities to extend the inter-provincial travel restrictions until 31 October.

National Operations Centre for the Prevention of the Covid-19 Outbreak Head and Army Commander General Shavendra Silva yesterday (20) stated that the President has instructed to extend the inter-provincial travel restrictions until 4 a.m. on 31 October.

Meanwhile, speaking to The Morning, Health Ministry Communications Director, Public Health Services Deputy Director General (DDG), and Disaster Preparedness and Response Division Head Dr. Hemantha Herath said that by maintaining inter-provincial travel restrictions, the Covid-19 pandemic situation, which has been brought under control to a certain extent, could be further controlled. 

He also added that if the people follow the prescribed Covid-19-related health guidelines, the existing restrictions will be relaxed and a new normalisation will be possible. 

Taking into account the rapid spread of Covid-19 and the increase of the number of Covid-19 deaths in the country, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, on 20 August, declared an islandwide lockdown status which was subsequently lifted on 1 October. However, the inter-provincial travel restrictions were not lifted.

Furthermore, emphasising that the Health Ministry cannot be satisfied with the current decline in the number of daily Covid-19 infections, Dr. Herath said last week that the country would return to its previous status where daily Covid-19 infections and deaths were on the rise, due to people’s irresponsible behaviour. He was commenting on media reports of certain groups visiting tourist areas in the country despite the inter-provincial travel restrictions.
According to the Epidemiology Unit, Sri Lanka, as of 10 a.m. yesterday, has recorded 13,525 Covid-19 deaths while the total number of infections stood at 532,766, of which a total of 493,674 patients have recovered.