ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka lifted a Coronavirus curfew in many parts of the island Monday morning, but extended it for another three days, as latest health ministry data showed confirmed COVID-19 cases going up to 87.
Sri Lanka’s government warned families not to send older people to shops, only one person to go, maintain a one meter distance at least in a queue or with other customers and stay as little time as possible inside a store.
Sri Lanka’s government warned families not to send older people out shopping and requested that only one person to
Shoppers are also advised to maintain a one-meter distance with other customers, at least while standing in a queue, and spend as little time as possible inside the store’s premises.
After lifting at 0600 hours on Tuesday, curfew will be re-imposed in the districts of Colombo, Puttalam, and Gampaha and districts in the north of Sri Lanka until 0600 am Friday 27, the government said.
Curfew in other districts will continue from Monday till Thursday 0600h.
“All inter-district travel is stricltly prohibited,” the president’s media office said in a statement.
Tourists have also been asked not to travel. During curfew farmers are allowed to cultivate.
The head of Sri Lanka’s health service said 05 new cases were confirmed Monday taking the total COVID-19 patient count to 91.
Health Minister Pavithra Wanniaracchi told privately-owned Derana TV that nine new cases were confirmed overnight with the four from Kaluthara.
One of these was a person who had been with a pastor from Switzerland who had visited Sri Lanka’s north. Another was from the National Hospital Colombo while one other from Welikanda was a quarantined returnee from Italy.
At the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) in Colombo, a tourist guide was confirmed as having contracted the virus. Two others also reported from IDH.
Minister Wanniaracchi said there were a mother and daughter confirmed in the Kalutara hospital. A tourist driver and his father were also reported from the Kalutara hospital.
Sri Lanka’s central bank asked banks to remain open for at least two hours in areas where curfew was lifted. The head offices of all banks are in Colombo.
Sri Lanka’s state information office quoted the acting police chief as saying bankers could go to work using their office identification as a curfew pass.
“What we will do in supermarkets first off is to restrict the number of people coming into the outlet at a given time to maintain social distancing,” Sri Lanka Retailers Association Vice President Charita Subasinghe, who also heads the retail sector of John Keells Holdings, told EcononyNext.
“We will get the support of the police to manage that part of it.”
“We are also going to restrict the number of units of a product that a person can purchase so that customers will not go on a buying spree for the sake of buying. That way, everyone gets a chance to buy.
“Hopefully, what we want to do from tomorrow is simply to restrict unnecessary buying. However, it is not because of a shortage,” he said.
Sri Lanka is also ramping up production of chloroquine, an old anti-malarial drug that has shown progress in speeding up COVID-19 recovery.
“The medical supply division has given us a purchase order to manufacture 500,000 chloroquine tablets, which was carried out in under 24 hours,” Uthpala Indrawansa, a medical doctor who is Chairman of the State Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC), told EconomyNext.
“This treatment is only for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and should not be administered to anyone without a prescription under a medical consultant,” he said.
Sri Lankans have been warned not to take chloroquine, a drug which is due to undergo a clinical trial in the US to find determine dosages and effectiveness to treat already infected patients.
“There has been a view that taking chloroquin will prevent the infection of COVID-19 virus,” Anil Jasinghe, head of Sri Lanka’s Health Service, said Sunday.
“I have consulted a team of 12 specialists in the field and I was told through data and other analysis that this drug cannot prevent infection.
“This drug can be administered to patients who are already infected with COVID-19 and that also only in a hospital situation. I urge you not to purchase this drug and self-administer, as it will not prevent infection.”
Interest in the drug had shot up after President Trump said the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the nod for a broader clinical trial after researchers found that it appeared to help novel coronavirus patients recover faster in a smaller study.
Sri Lanka has said there are enough stocks of fuel in the country as are foodstuffs. Ports and airports remain open for cargo.
Ships and aircraft are still arriving the country, but inbound arrivals are halted until at least March 25. (Colombo/March23/2020)