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Sri Lanka extends curfew in the North as Coronavirus count rises to 82

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has extended curfew in five districts in the north of the island by another day after a pastor of the Philadelphia Church in Jaffna was found to have been infected with Coronavirus and the congregation had scattered to several districts.

The curfew in Mannar, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Jaffna districts will continue till March 24, 0600 am the President’s media division said.

The curfew will be re-imposed at 0200pm.

Resident have been ordered not to go out of the areas until all contacts with the pastor has been found.

“This step has been taken to protect the lives of persons in five districts” the PMD said.

The Pastor in question is of Sri Lankan origin and currently resident in Switzerland. He had arrived in the country on March 10th and interacted with the parishioners of the Philadelphia Church in Ariyalai in the Nallur area.

He had presided over a service and left the country on March 16th and was reportedly sent for treatment on arrival in Switzerland.

Parishioners had said that the Pastor had “hugged and blessed almost everybody who was there.”

Around 150 congregants had been in the church that day. They had traveled to the church from several parts of the Northern Province, the Governor P S M Charles told EconomyNext.

Local media quoted some parishioners as saying the Pastor was “visibly ill, shivering and barely able to hold the microphone.”

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Sri Lanka’s state information quoting Director General of Health Anil Jasinghe said the total Coronavirus count had gone up to 82 Sunday with the first Chinese patient.

Sri Lanka has also extended a weekend curfew till Tuesday morning for the districts of Colombo. Gampaha and Puttalam, where a concentration of persons from Italy and other areas of Europe live.

Sri Lanka said after some pilgrims were repatriated to Sri Lanka on March 22, the airport would be closed to all arrivals.

Sri Lanka’s Civil Aviation Authority has told airline the restriction to be in place until March 25, at which time in may be reviewed.

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