Sri Lanka goes into ten-day lockdown amid rising Covid-19 cases

Sri Lanka began a ten-day-long nationwide lockdown from Friday night as the country struggled to contain the rising Covid-19 infections. On Thursday, it had recorded almost 3900 cases

Aug 21, 2021
Image
Sri Lanka goes into ten-day lockdown

Sri Lanka began a ten-day-long nationwide lockdown from Friday night as the country struggled to contain the rising Covid-19 infections. On Thursday, it had recorded almost 3900 cases. 

"Nationwide Lockdown in effect from 10 pm today to Monday (30/08). All essential services will function as normal," Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella announced on Twitter. The daily cases recorded an increase of around 266 percent in comparison to July first week following the spread of the Delta variant. 

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa held meetings with members of the presidential task force on coronavirus to take stock of the emerging situation.

The government has been avoiding imposing nationwide lockdown, considering economic consequences at a time when it is already facing an economic crisis. So far it relied on imposing localized smart lockdowns, which kept economic activities going in other parts. 

However, as the cases rose significantly, the capital Colombo--which is the worst affected region-- saw a self-imposed lockdown in the last few days. Streets were deserted as people avoided going out and shops remained shuttered. 

Many restrictions were already there. Educational institutes, gyms, nonessential gatherings, shows, and marriage functions were also banned.
  
Various social and religious groups and businesses have been demanding an immediate nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of infections. In the last 30 days, the average daily cases doubled. 


The country’s medical infrastructure came under significant strain as hospitals across the country were flooded with patients, many among them now seeking oxygen support. 

“They listen to us it will be good for our leaders and for the country," Tissa Witarana, a member of parliament, who was calling for a strict nationwide lockdown, said just before the announcement. 

Around 43 percent of the total eligible population have received at least one dose of Covid vaccines.  

(SAM)