COVID 19 – Schools closed for a week from tomorrow as COVID 19 spread fears rise

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan authorities have ordered all schools and private tuition classes closed for a week from tomorrow as fears of the spread of COVID 19 increased.

A statement from the government Ministry of Education said that parents, schoolchildren, school Principals and officials “have become fearful” due to some “false information spread on Social Media regarding COVID 19.”

Public concern has grown after hundreds of staff and inmates at a drug rehabilitation centre in the North Central Province tested positive for the virus.

Several thousand inmates, their family members from various parts of the country as well as staff have been sent to quarantine after an inmate was detected with the virus on July 7, last Tuesday.

Subsequent testing found that more than 300 of the 1,140 inmates and staff of the rehabilitation centre are infected.

Although the government insists that there is no community transmission of the virus, the Health Authorities have not yet offered an explanation as to how a camp inmate was infected.

The inmates who have been ordered by court to go through rehabilitation are housed in two camps a few kilometers apart.

The Education Ministry statement issued by Additional Secretary Ranjith Chandrasekara said that as students and staff need to “come to school with peace of mind,” the government decided to close schools.

Not all classes were functioning with only senior level students attending schools.

However preparations for the August 5 Parliamentary General elections are going ahead, the statement added.

Schools which have been commandeered for election preparations will be open for election officials to carry out their work, Chandrasekara said. (Colombo, July 12, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana