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Coronavirus curfew lifted in parts of Sri Lanka amid surgical lockdowns, contact chasing

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has lifted curfew in most districts while the Western Province, Puttalam and Kandy till 1400hours Monday while authorities continued to chase contacts with one village and town locked down.

Sri Lanka had confirmed 117 Coronavirus patients by 2000h March 29, Health Ministry data showed. One patient has died and 11 had recovered so far.

Sri Lanka’s military chief Shavendra Silva who heads an anti-Covid-19 taskforce said isolated infections were still being confirmed and everyone should maintain a distance when curfew is lifted.

“You can see that from time to time, infected persons are turning up from here and there,” General Silva said in a recorded video address to media.

“There is a certain threat. Even though you do not know, there can be infected persons in society.

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Police had also asked shops in Galenbindunuwea, Horowpathana and Kahatagasdigiliya not to open after a confirmed patient from Akurana in Kandy was found to have gone to the area.

The areas were not under lockdown, General Silva said.
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A group from Muttur who had gone to Malaysia and Indonesia was asked to call police and get into self-quarantine.

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“Most of them had very co-operatively already gone into self-quarantine,” General Silva told Sri Lanka’s Derana Television, Monday.

“But a few people do not respond. Please do so because it is for everyone’s protection that we are doing. Intelligence services go to a great deal of trouble to find these matters.”

He said the shop closure in Anuradhapura did not amount to a lockdown, which was underway in Ataluagama in Kalutara and Akurana in the Kandy district.

The patient from Akurana had returned from India on March 15, Director of Health Arjuna Tillekeratne told reporters Sunday.

The person has had a cough and fever two days after returning and had taken treatment from a private hospital. Three family members who had shown symptoms had been admitted to Kandy hospital.

Anyone who had recently returned from India is now being asked to self-quarantine and call police.

Deputy Inspector General Ajith Rohana said a hotline had been set up with 1933 short number to contact on matters related to Coronavirus.

General Silva said 21,171 had registered and some were now out of danger.

Sri Lanka’s stock markets are closed Monday, but banks, bond and forex markets are open.

Sri Lanka’s public had got into difficulties after a new state monopoly was created where drug sales were made the exclusive business of a state pharmaceuticals company.

Another 120 select pharmacies were allowed to sell drugs by delivery and people were asked to use whatsapp and other tools to order drugs, newspaper reports said Monday.

Sri Lanka’s Atlas Axiata had produced a medical robot, which was undergoing trials at Homagama Hospital. The guided automated vehicle could deliver food and medicines, could potentially reduce contact between health workers and also save protective suits, doctors have said.

Attempts by Sri Lanka’s apparel factories to make masks and protective suits had been blocked by the curfew.

Media reports said a company in the Katunayake free trade zone, which was producing components for ventilators had also been forced to close. (Colombo/Mar30/2020)