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Sri Lanka backs off from curfew relaxations after sudden spike in coronavirus cases

Over 3,500 people, including foreigners, remain quarantined in more than 40 centres across the country following the coronavirus outbreak.

Published: 20th April 2020 03:36 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th April 2020 03:36 PM   |  A+A-

A Sri Lankan army soldier checks a line of homeless people before transporting them to isolation centers as a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Photo | AP)

By PTI

COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan government on Monday dropped its decision to relax the nationwide curfew and extended it to April 27 following a sudden spike of 41 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours.

The island nation has been under a curfew since March 20 to combat the deadly viral infection.

On Sunday, the government announced to partially lift the curbs from Monday to boost economic activity.

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi had said the government was able to tackle the community spread of the deadly virus and was, therefore, looking at the need to revive the economic activity, stalled due to the lockdown since mid-March.

However, following the 41 COVID-19 cases reported in the last 24 hours, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's office said the planned easing of the curfew won't happen in the backdrop of the sudden spike in the numbers and it has been extended till April 27.

Following the curfew extension, a meeting of the Election Commission scheduled for Monday afternoon to decide on the date of the parliamentary election has also been postponed.

The election, which was originally scheduled for April 25, was indefinitely postponed in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Sri Lanka has so far reported 295 COVID-19 cases, including seven deaths, and 96 recoveries, since the first viral infection was reported in the country on March 11.

Over 3,500 people, including foreigners, remain quarantined in more than 40 centres across the country following the coronavirus outbreak.

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