Sri Lanka extends Covid-19 lockdown till September 6 amid spike in death rate
Sri Lanka on Friday extended its nation-wide lockdown till September 6, amidst a surge in the number of Covid-19 deaths and mounting pressure from medics and the Opposition to step up efforts to fight the raging third wave of coronavirus.
The government took the decision following a top-level meeting held on Friday. Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had ordered a 10-day lockdown on August 20.
“The current curfew will continue till 4 am on Monday, September 6,” health minister Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters.
The government has noticed that people have not taken the curfew seriously, he said, advising that people should refrain from unnecessary travel and work from home while abiding by the curfew.
The calls for extension of the lockdown have come from the Opposition and the public health inspectors.
The health unions have complained that the ongoing lockdown in the form of quarantine curfew has been observed in a very relaxed manner with large traffic formations being seen in the cities.
The government says that the lockdowns would adversely impact the economy and has urged the public to get vaccinated.
Sri Lanka, which has witnessed a series of lockdowns and curfews to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the country, has been impacted in terms of its economy.
The tourism sector, which generates a huge quantum of revenue for the island nation, has seen a drastic fall.
The Friday’s announcement came after Sri Lanka recorded 209 deaths on Wednesday, the highest daily toll since the onset of the pandemic.
As of Thursday, Sri Lanka had recorded 8,157 deaths while the total number of infections stood at 412,370.
Over 7,500 deaths have been recorded in the ongoing third wave since April 15, the health ministry said, adding that as many as 1,172 deaths have come from August 21 until Thursday.