COLOMBO: Sri Lanka on Tuesday banned protests and public meetings until further notice in a bid to arrest the spread of COVID-19, saying there is a threat of rapid transmission of the coronavirus pandemic through large gatherings.
The Director-General of Health Services Dr Asela Gunawardena has written to the Inspector General of Police informing him of the decision.
"There is a threat of rapid spreading of COVID-19 through large gatherings of public meetings and protests. Such gatherings and protest action must not be held until further notice," a police headquarters statement said.
The violators would be dealt with the quarantine regulations, it said.
In recent weeks, protests take place daily in the farming areas where farmers are protesting against the government's decision to ban the import of chemical fertilizers.
They claim that their crops are getting affected due to the scarcity of chemical fertilizers.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has ordered that the import of chemical fertilizers be halted and the farmers must use organic fertilizers for cultivation.
This week, a few Opposition politicians faced arrest for taking part in the fertilizer demonstrations while breaking quarantine regulations, the police said.