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Sri Lanka to ease COVID-19 lockdown from next week as government says community spread in 'control'

There is a need to reopen the country to normalise public life. Sri Lanka has recorded 248 positive cases with seven deaths. More then 70 people have recovered.

Published: 18th April 2020 08:17 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th April 2020 08:17 PM   |  A+A-

A Sri Lankan police officer disinfects a homeless woman, as others stand in a queue before they are transported to an isolation center as a measure to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus during a lockdown in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, April 17, 202

A Sri Lankan police officer disinfects a homeless woman, as others stand in a queue before they are transported to an isolation center as a measure to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus during a lockdown in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, April 17, 202

By PTI

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka on Saturday announced that the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic will be eased from next week to normalise public life and revive the economic activities in the country.

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said the government has been able to control the community spread of the virus.

So now there is a need to reopen the country to normalise public life. Sri Lanka has recorded 248 positive cases with seven deaths. More then 70 people have recovered.

The curfew for 19 districts where there is no threat from the virus will be lifted on April 20 at 5 am and will be reimposed at 8 pm, the minister said.

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In the six high-risk districts, including capital Colombo, the curfew will be lifted at 5 am on April 22 and will be reimposed at 8 pm.

Health Minister Wanniarachchi said the government was keen to revive the economic activity after the continuous lockdown observed since mid March.

"The government discussed with all regional health officials and agreed on the need to revive the economic activities with a view to help people," Wanniarachchi said.

The government said the respective institutional heads are given the discretion to decide on the staff attendance.

Within the capital district of Colombo all institutions must have the presence of one third of the respective staff number.

All public transport must ensure that only a half of the capacity must be carried at any given time.

The public are advised to adhere to health protocols in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Analysts say the government by lifting the curfew appears keen to make the Election Commission set the date for the parliamentary election.

The election which was originally scheduled for April 25 was indefinitely postponed due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in a statement issued on Saturday said that the election commission cannot postpone the election indefinitely.

Most opposition political parties are of the view that COVID-19 must take precedence over the election.



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