Government imposes travel restrictions between provinces

Tuesday, 11 May 2021 01:34 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • President orders restrictions of non-essential travel 
  • No gatherings of any kind
  • Visitors to commercial establishments to be limited 
  • Isolation of high infection areas to continue 
  • President spokesman gives vaccine update 

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa 


President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday instructed that travel between all provinces be limited and cancelled all gatherings until the end of May to support efforts to contain COVID-19, his spokesman said in a statement. 

The President’s spokesman Kingsly Rathnayake also gave an update on Sri Lanka’s vaccine situation in the statement. In addition to restricting non-essential travel between provinces, the Government will also limit the number of people who can visit commercial establishments and will continue to isolate high infection areas. 

The full statement is reproduced below: 

I would like to present to you the outcome of his [President Rajapaksa’s] discussions with all relevant parties to protect the country and the people from this pandemic. Sri Lanka received 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine free of charge and the Government purchased another 500,000 vaccines. We received another consignment of 265,000 vaccine doses. Accordingly, Sri Lanka received a total of 1,265,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine. Under the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive, around 925,000 people were given the first jab of the vaccine. However, the recent developments in India obstructed in getting down vaccines required for the second dose. The health authorities have pointed out that around 600,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine are required to complete the second dose of the vaccination. The Government is currently in discussions with various parties to obtain the required AstraZeneca vaccine doses. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka received a donation of 600,000 doses of Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, which was not earlier approved by the World Health Organization. However, as a result of a discussion President Gotabaya Rajapaksa held with the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) via Zoom last Friday, the WHO on the same evening approved the emergency use of the Sinopharm vaccine. Accordingly, the Sinopharm vaccination programme was commenced from the very next day of receiving approval and the Government is making arrangements to vaccinate 25,000 people per day in the Western Province under the first phase. Negotiations held with the Chinese authorities to obtain three million doses of Sinopharm vaccine have been successful and the Government has made plans to commence the vaccination programs in other provinces too, as soon as the vaccines are received. The Government has decided to use Russia›s Sputnik vaccine as well in the vaccination drive. Under the first phase of this, Sri Lanka received 15,000 doses of vaccines. Since the vaccination method of Sputnik is slightly different from the methods used for other vaccines, our healthcare sector commenced the vaccination from the Gothatuwa area adopting the new methodology.

Under its second phase, 85,000 more Sputnik vaccines will be received soon. The President is confident that Sri Lanka will be able to successfully manage the current situation through vaccination, similar to the successful results achieved in the United States, the United

Kingdom and a number of European countries through vaccination. The President is also fully confident in Sri Lanka›s robust healthcare system and the entire staff members of the healthcare sector. The World Health Organization (WHO) has specially appreciated Sri Lanka›s strong healthcare system in every discussion the President had with the WHO. However, President Rajapaksa points out that even with all these measures, the commitment of the people to control the COVID-19 pandemic is vital. The President is of the view that citizens focusing on social responsibilities and adhering to all safety measures and the advice given by the health sector to maintain social distancing and avoid unnecessary gatherings will lead to a healthier nation. As a result of the discussions the President held with all stakeholders to put an end to the COVID- 19 pandemic, the President has instructed the relevant authorities to (until 30 May):

-Impose travel restrictions between all provinces,

-Cancel all gatherings and functions,

-Limit the number of people who can enter and stay in commercial establishments, and

-Isolate the areas where infected people are found in higher numbers.

However, the President emphasised that proper procedures should be followed to ensure that the lives of the people are not disrupted and that the essential services of the country are maintained when imposing these restrictions. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is confident that the people of our country will act responsibly in line with the Government›s program.


Only 23% of Itukama COVID-19 fund utilised