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Friday June 18th, 2021
Economy

No decision yet on extending Sri Lanka’s unofficial lockdown: army chief

ECONOMYNEXT – No decision has been taken yet to extend the ongoing movement restrictions in Sri Lanka beyond June 07 but it may be decided at any point until then, Army Commander Gen Shavendra Silva said.

Silva told the state-run Independent Television Network (ITN) on May 31 that there is no truth to reports circulating on social media that the unofficial lockdown has been extended.

Any decision regarding the restrictions will be informed to the public through an official press conference that will be organised by the Government Information Department, he said.

“It won’t come as a WhatsApp message,” he added.

Silva said decisions regarding movement restrictions are taken after consulting experts across multiple sectors, subject to the president’s approval.

“We will consider every recommendation from each party, and a decision may be made any day from now to June 07,” he added.

With the restrictions in place, the army chief said, health authorities have been able to COVID-19 identify patients and direct them to treatment or to quarantine centres.

“We won’t see the results of the ongoing controls right away, but we will after mid June,” he said.

Public Health Inspectors (PHI) Union Chairman Upul Rohana told the privately owned Derana TV that tracing and quarantining close contacts of COVID-19 patients were carried out successfully as a result of the restrictions.

“These restrictions helped us in a very big way to trace contacts and quarantine people. PCR tests results are now issued within three days,” he said.

However the number of PCR tests has dropped significantly, from 25,000 to 15,000, said Rohana.

Health authorities have suspended random PCR tests and are testing only close contacts of confirmed cases, he added. (Colombo/ May 31/2021)

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