Sri Lanka lifts inter-provincial travel ban as Covid-19 vaccination accelerates
The Sri Lankan government lifted the three-month-long inter-provincial travel ban across the country on Sunday as the vaccination drive against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) picked up pace, news agency PTI reported. However, the inter-provincial travel at present is only given to government employees on official duty, senior health official Asela Gunawardena said.
The government also allowed the resumption of public bus services from Sunday while train services would resume from Monday. Officials told PTI that crowding in these transport services is not allowed. “We will allow buses to take passengers strictly limited to their seating capacity,” state public transport minister Dilum Amunugama.
This will be the first time that public transport will be operational across Sri Lanka since late April when the government imposed tough travel curbs due to a massive spike in Covid-19 cases following the Sinhalese New Year.
The lifting of the travel bans and resumption of public transport in the country comes days after the government said on July 30 that it was ending work-from-home for all government employees despite no improvement in the ongoing pandemic situation. PB Jayasundera, the current secretary to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, said there was no need for government employees to work from home as the majority of them had been vaccinated.
Sri Lanka is reaching the 10 million milestone for its ongoing vaccination drive against the coronavirus disease and more than 84 per cent of the population above 30 years has been given at least one dose of the vaccine, according to a report by the Lankaxpress. The country has received over 13.8 million vaccines, the report added. And on Saturday, Sri Lanka received 728,460 doses of AstraZeneca from the COVAX programme.
Meanwhile, a total of 308,812 people were infected with Covid-19, while 277,118 patients have recovered and 4,436 died so far. The daily cases in Sri Lanka have been over the 2,000-mark daily during the last week.
(With agency inputs)