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Sri Lanka Coronavirus curfew break delayed till April 16 to fight Covid-19, count 199

CORONAVIRUS ATM: Customers queue at a mobile ATM of a state-run Bank of Ceylon during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Colombo on April 11, 2020.

ECONOMYNEXT – A Coronavirus curfew break in Sri Lanka for less-risky areas has been delayed till 0600h Thursday April 16 morning from an earlier announced April 14, the President’s media office said as the country went on a last ditch effort to bottle the Covid-19 bug.

Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry said the total Coronavirus count went up by one to 199 on Saturday while recovered persons were 54. Both persons were found in quarantine camps.

Sri Lanka has slapped indefinite curfew in the districts of Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Puttalam, Kandy and Jaffna, which have been identified as high risk areas.

“In all other districts, curfew has been extended till 6.00am on Thursday, the 16th April,” the President’s office said.

An earlier announcement that curfew in less-risky areas would be lifted on April 14 no longer applies, the statement said.

The curfew will cover Sri Lanka’s traditional Tamil and Sinhala Solar New Year holiday on Monday April 13 and Tuesday April 14.

The Solar New Year is celebrated in many Asian nations which were part of South Asia’s Chola Empire, which originated from the territory now labelled India by the British.

The festival is also celebrated by peoples of South India (Puthandu), Assam (Bohag Bihu), Odisha (Pana Sankranti), Arunachal Pradesh (Sangken), Thailand (Songkran) and Myanmar (Thingyan).

It is an important festival among Tamil people in India as well as Sri Lanka, (Puthandu).

In the high-risk areas foods is being delivered where a permit system has created some disruptions. Pharmacies have been allowed to be open.

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Several banks are also taking truck-mounted automatted teller machines around to help people get cash to pay for deliveries.

Sri Lanka has been aggressively tracing contacts after closing the country for all inbound arrivals on March 19, and later imposed curfews to stop the movement of people and stop infected persons who have slipped through a quarantine net and their contacts from meeting new people.

Sri Lanka successfully killed Wave I infections from China with only one Chinese tourist being confirmed in January and all other returning Chinese workers were home quarantined and visas for tourists were restricted.

At the time the World Health Organization in January were advising countries not to tighten controls against China.

Whether they also developed the disease is not known since no tests were done on quarantined Chinese.

Sri Lanka is now trying to kill infections from third countries which began in March from Italian returnees, and others who visited UK, which was trying to practise ‘herd immunity’ and European nations.

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On March 19, Sri Lanka closed airports to arrivals from all countries and has been trying to trace infected persons and their contacts.

Sri Lanka closed some of the gaps in their contact tracing strategy this week by expanding testing on close contacts.

The last infected arrivals were from Malaysia and Indonesia in line with the experience of countries like Vietnam who are also trying to kill Wave II.

Many gaps in testing or quarantine could potentially be covered up by curfews as infected persons including those who are tested and release either develops the disease with symptoms and are hospitalized or gets a mild infection and is cured at home.

Sri Lanka’s Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said that April 19 marks one month from the date of airport closure.

“Please co-operate with the government by limiting your movements till April 19,” Minister Wanniarachchi said on April 19.

“If you do this, the person who came on April 19 and his contacts we can identify without any problems.

“It gives us time to identify anyone who gets sick. April also gives enough to allow any contacts of the person who will develop the disease at home to recover without infecting another person.

This week some Contacts from Ratnapura and Pelmadulla were to be released without being kept on quarantine after testing.

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Researchers in Vietnam had advocated that any contact in quarantine that tests negative be quarantined for two weeks.

However the contact in Ratnapura happened some time ago.

Concerns have risen about after the SARS-Cov-2 virus was found to have an incubation period of 20 days or more in a small number of cases. (Colombo/Apr11/2020)

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