ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has imposed ‘movement restrictions’ from 11pm tomorrow (13) to 4am Monday (17) with inter-district travel restrictions also imposed every day from 11pm to 4am starting tomorrow till May 31, the national COVID-19 task force quoting Army Commander Gen Shavendra Silva said.
The move amounts to a de facto curfew, but it cannot be called a curfew without a state of emergency being declared.
A slew of seemingly contradictory statements about restrictions released this afternoon led to much confusion, even as the government continued to urge the public to stay at home to contain a dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases.
According to Gen Silva, who also heads the country’s COVID-19 task force, movement will be curtailed in all districts from 11pm tomorrow until 4am Monday in what will essentially be a lockdown in all but name.
However, essential services will be permitted to operate during this period.
All inter-district travel will also be restricted from 11pm to 4am every day from today until May 31, but again, essential services and a limited number of the work force in both state and private sectors will be allowed to move, per day.
According to a statement issued by Sri Lanka Police, during hours when there are no travel restrictions, one person from a single family may leave the house, based on the last digit of their national identity card (NIC) number. Those whose NIC digits end with an odd number (1, 3, 5, 7, or 9) may go out on ‘odd days’ and those with an even number (0, 2, 4, 6, or 8) may go out on ‘even days’, the statement said.
This means that after Monday (17), till May 31, one person from one household can venture out from 4am to 11pm, depending on their NIC number.
Meanwhile, State Minister of Transportation Minister Dilum Amunugama told the privately owned Derana network this afternoon that a limited number of long distance buses will be allowed to transport essential workers from district to district. (Colombo/May12/2021)