Govt. extends social distancing measures

Friday, 27 March 2020 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}



  • SL records 100 active COVID-19 cases
  • Total 106; four recovered and sent home, four new cases
  • Govt. names next week as “work from home” period
  • Jaffna joins Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara in indefinite curfew
  • 678 people sent home from quarantine centres so far, 443 to be released today

The Government yesterday announced that the work from home period would be extended to next week, even as the number of active cases held relatively steady at 100, after two new cases of COVID-19 were identified and four patients were pronounced recovered and released. 

Four COVID-19 patients were discharged from the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) yesterday following recovery, bringing the total recovery count to seven, including the Chinese national discharged on 19 February who was the first COVID-19 case detected in Sri Lanka.

However, the total number of confirmed cases rose to 106, with four new cases detected on Thursday. According to the Health Promotion Bureau, there are 100 active cases and 239 patients in hospital. This is a slight decrease from the 255 individuals in hospitals recorded in Wednesday’s situation report by the Epidemiology Unit. According to yesterday’s report, 102 individuals, including two foreigners, were at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID); 25, including one foreigner, in Welikanda; and 17, including one foreigner, in Homagama. The gender distribution of COVID-19 patients is 68% male and 32% female, and 97.1% are locals.

The Government also named 30 March to 3 April as a “work from home” period yesterday. The step was taken to encourage social distancing, the statement by the President's Media Division said.

The statement added that these days would not be considered as public holidays but would cover all non-essential public services and the private sector. It also pointed out the Government had named 20-27 March as a “work from home” period, and this was a continuation of that same policy.

The Government earlier yesterday decided curfew in the Jaffna District will not be lifted and will continue indefinitely. Furthermore, all leave was cancelled for all Police personnel until 10 April with immediate effect, by order of the Acting Inspector General of Police.

The President’s Media Division, releasing a statement, said curfew in the Jaffna District would be extended until further notice, while all other districts in the north will have curfew lifted at 6 a.m. today as previously announced. The statement further said this decision was taken given the current situation in the area and the possibility of COVID-19 spread.

Earlier this week, the military established a separate quarantine centre in Jaffna to house 17 people who had come into contact with a Swiss pastor who was later diagnosed with COVID-19.

Areas where curfew was lifted at 6 a.m. and re-imposed at 2 p.m. on Thursday will have curfew lifted again at 6 a.m. on Monday. Curfew in the Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara Districts will continue indefinitely.

A group of 223 individuals were released yesterday from four quarantine centres, having completed the mandatory 14-day quarantine period, bringing the total number sent home to 678.

According to the Sri Lanka Army website, 125 people have been released from Punani, 42 from Kandakadu, 38 from Diyathalawa, and 18 from Meeyankulam. There are four foreigners, two from Iran and two from Korea, among those released from the Diyathalawa Quarantine Centre.

All individuals have completed the relevant medical procedures and have received a quarantine certificate. They were divided according to their residential towns, and the Sri Lanka Army facilitated transport to their destinations in Galle, Colombo, Kandy, and Matara. They were also provided snacks, water, and lunch on their way, and special focus was given to infants and children.

This is the third group to be released, with 201 released on Wednesday and 311 on Tuesday. Currently, 2,866 people remain in quarantine centres, according to National Operations Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 Head Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra de Silva. Another 443 people are expected to be released today.