ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is mulling the relaxation of some Coronavirus restrictions in less risky areas after an April New Year season, but current curfews will continue for the moment, the President’s office said after a review of the country’s anti-Covid-19 drive.
“..-[I}t was observed that except for the few districts identified as high risk zones where the most number of COVID-19 patients were found, the spread of the virus at present does not pose a threat to other districts.
“Therefore, there is a possibility that the current restrictions imposed on these districts could be lifted by the end of the Sinhala New Year season.
“The current prevention program will thus continue as it is until this period. Thereafter, a decision as to the next step to be taken will be considered after further studying the situation.”
Sri Lanka has rolling curfews with breaks given around three to four days for most districts. Colombo, Gampaha, Puttalam, Jaffna and Kandy, which have been described as high risk areas are under permanent curfew. Inter-district travel has been banned.
Presided by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had held a progress meeting with health and other officials on the current situation on Saturday.
Sri Lanka’s Civil Aviation on Saturday night extended a ban on arriving passengers indefinitely.
“…[A]ccording to instructions received from Sri Lanka Health Authorities, all international Airports in Sri Lanka will continue to be closed for the operation of inbound international commercial passenger flights (i.e. arrivals) until further notice,” the Civil Aviation Authority told airlines.
The head of Sri Lanka’s Health Service Anil Jasinghe told Sri Lanka’s privately run Derana TV that according to current forecasts April 17 is considered a key date to monitor the level of infection in the country.
“The period in April going to a little beyond the New Year season is going to be decisive,” Jasinghe said. “Current projections show that around April 17 we will be able to get an idea to what idea about the control of the disease.
“So the view is that the current controls should be kept for around that period.”
Sri Lanka is trying to keep infections below 500 but was getting hospitals ready to accommodate around 1,400.
Sri Lanka is starting a call centre with the number 1390 for people with symptoms to make inquiries or call before coming to hospital.
“This call centre is provided with the technology of Dialog (Axiata),” Jasinghe said.
“Don’t go here and there, call the hotline and they will give you the advice. If you should be admitted they will direct you to the nearest hospital.”
He said the call center could also make arrangements for 1990 Suwaseriya paramedic ambulances to pick up the suspected patients.
Overnight Sri Lanka’s confirmed cases went up to 166, health ministry data showed.
On Saturday one person was found in the quarantine centre in Puttalam.
At Homagama Hospital three persons had been found, who were from Attidiya, Ratmalana and Wellampitiya areas, Jasinghe said.
Up to Saturday 25 persons have recovered from the disease.
Five persons had died including a 44-year old who had no complications like diabetes or blood pressure.
Jasinghe said though statistics show that younger persons were more likely to recover, the incident shows that the virus affected persons in different ways and it was important to stay at home, keep away from other persons and not get infected in the first place.
Sri Lanka is advising people to stay at least one metre apart. The Centres of Disease Control (CDC) in the US and National Health Service in the UK, is asking people to stay 02 metres (06 feet) away especially if they are in conversation.