Quarantine curfew imposed on the Western Province and other areas of the country was lifted at 5 a.m. today, with select towns being declared isolated areas.
According to the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of the COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO), 12 Police divisions in the Colombo District, eight in the Gampaha District, and three in the Kalutara District are still under lockdown.
These areas are Mattakkuliya, Modara, Bloemendhal, Kotahena, Grandpass, Foreshore, Aduruppu Street, Maligawatta, Dematagoda, Wellampitiya, Borella, and Keselwatte in the Colombo District, Wattala, Peliyagoda, Kadawatha, Ragama, Negombo, Pamunugama, Ja-Ela, and Sapugaskanda in the Gampaha District, and Horana, Ingiriya, and Wekada West in the Kalutara District.
Kurunegala Town and Kuliyapitiya in the Kurunegala District and Mawanella and Ruwanwella in the Kegalle District are also isolated areas.
The Sri Lanka Police yesterday explained the restrictions imposed on isolated areas, with Police Spokesperson DIG Ajith Rohana saying no persons will be permitted to enter or exit these areas. While travel is permitted through these areas, no stops can be made and persons cannot be picked or dropped. Public transport like buses and train will not be permitted to make stops in isolated areas.
While essential services like grocery stores, supermarkets, food outlets, and pharmacies cannot open to customers, they can offer delivery services. Steps will be taken in the coming days to implement a mechanism for services to transport essential food items and medication to isolated areas.
Persons in need of urgent medical care can, however, travel to the nearest hospital without a curfew permit.
In addition to this, five housing schemes have been identified as high-risk areas. Residents of the Methsanda Sewana, Mihijaya Sewana, Modara Ranmina Sewana, Sirisanda Uyana Dematagoda, and Maligawatte NHS Houses have been placed under home quarantine and will not be permitted to leave the premises. In addition to this, DIG Ajith Rohana added that expressways to enter and exit the Western Province will reopen today but that Police officers have been deployed to monitor entries and exits. There will be no travel restrictions in non-isolated areas but the public is requested to limit travel as much as possible.
“In non-isolated areas, offices can resume operations with the lifting of curfew,” he said, adding that employers were required to implement the seven key safety measures included in the Extraordinary Gazette issued on 15 October.
These measures cover social distancing, capacity limitations, seating arrangements, hand hygiene facilities, temperature checks, and the maintenance of logs. He also emphasised that the Health Ministry’s specific guidelines for 55 institutions must also be adhered to.
The Police Spokesperson added that 2,850 persons and 430 vehicles have been taken into Police custody to date over violations of curfew regulations. This includes 125 arrests made in the last eight days.