ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will close down all schools, preschools and piriven (monastic schools) in the island till April 30 starting today to contain the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Prof G L Peiris said.
The minister told reporters today that all decisions with regard to school activities will be taken prioritising the health and safety of school children.
Sri Lanka has seen a surge in daily COVID-19 cases following the Sinhala & Tamil New Year holidays, with authorities fearing a newer, more virulent strain that is said to be affecting younger people.
“This weekend we will have a meeting with health authorities, regional education directors and school principals to decide on the course of action for next week, after May 03,” he said.
Meanwhile health authorities isolated two more Grama Niladhari divisions today, bringing total isolated areas since April 21 to 12.
Siriketha in Hingurakgoda, Polonnaruwa and Pallekumburan in Ukuwela, Matale were isolated from 6.30am today.
Other isolated Grama Niladhari divisions are Polhena, Heeralugedara, Kaluaggala in Kotadeniya, Gampaha, Aswennawaththa East in Minuwangoda, Gampaha, Pelawaththa North and East in Megahatenna, Kalutara, Pupuhar in Trincomalee, Kuliyapitiya, Thittawelgama Niraviya and Nikadalupotha in Kurunegala, Adhikarigoda in Kalutara, and Imbulagoda and Katudampe in Galle.
However, broadcast media reports showed residents in isolated areas moving to other districts and non-isolated areas following yesterday’s declaration. Footage showed no security personnel on duty to stop the residents from moving to other areas.
Police spokesman DIG Ajith Rohana said 108 people were arrested yesterday for not following quarantine laws, not maintaining physical distance and not wearing facemasks.
“From October 30 till now we have arrested around 3,755, of whom 3,650 have been produced in court,” Rohana told reporters.
“Most were from the Kalutara district,” he said.
Rohana said police will continue to supervise the general public.
“When you return to the workplace after a long weekend, follow the health guidelines. We ask management of all companies to monitor all employees and ensure guidelines are followed,” he said.
“Our aim is to stop the creation of sub clusters and to minimise the spread of the virus as much as possible,” he added. (Colombo/Apr27/2021)