ECONOMYNEXT: Sri Lanka’s health authorities have ordered revellers at the Royal – Thomian “Big Match” to immediately isolate themselves following reports that at least one person infected with the Coronavirus was making merry among thousands of fans.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Tuesday noted that organisers had disregarded his opposition and went ahead with staging their annual school cricket encounter.
An old boy of S. Thomas’ College tested positive for COVID-19 at the weekend raising fears he may have infected a large number of people who were at the match despite health warnings against large gatherings.
The Director-General of Health, Anil Jasinghe told reporters Wednesday that he was ordering all those at the Turf Club Tent at the cricket encounter to immediately go into isolation and avoid contact with others.
Many took to social media to warn their friends who had been to the Royal-Thomian match not to visit them for two weeks.
“I’m considering avoiding all those who attended the roytho for a period of 14 days. I’ve old parents and I don’t want to risk it. If you went to roytho go on a 14 day quarantine. Am I being paranoid?,” former journalist Chathuri Dissanayake said on Twitter.
“So we closed all the government schools, private schools, international schools, preschools, state and private universities and canceled the England cricket team’s tour. But we let 10,000 people gather at the SSC for 3 days of fun and frolic called the Royal-Thomian. Go figure!,” added another former journalist Niresh Eliatamby.
Former MP, Rajiva Wijesinha said he suggested that the match be played without spectators.
“…the Royal Thomian should have been stopped, not the match which could have been telecast, but the crowded spectator extravaganza,” Wijesinha said. “Surprised no one else had suggested it so was pleased to find the President had, but it seems the elite mafia triumphed.”
With the number of confirmed cases topping 50 by Wednesday, police said they were also banning any organised bus tours and local sporting events to prevent the spread of the virus.
(COLOMBO, March 18, 2020 – Update II)