March 18, 2020
With newly reported nine patients and the total confirmed COVID-19 cases have risen to 50 today, the Government has urged the public to refrain from joining leisure tours and pilgrimages during the holidays declared by the State to prevent the rapidly spreading coronavirus.
At a press briefing held at the National Operation Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19- Outbreak (NOCPCO), the Army Commander and the Head of the NOCPCO Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva said the Government had taken all measures to control the spread of the COVID-19.
He said the group of Sri Lankan pilgrims, who were now in India would be facilitated to return to the country and they would be directed to quarantine centres.
“We request all foreigners in Sri Lanka to curtail their movements within the country to avoid spreading the COVID -19. Hoteliers, restaurateurs, and owners of establishments where foreigners would be residing are to advise the foreigners to limit their travels", he said.
Lt.Gen. Silva said out of the 2,287 suspected persons that were undergoing 14-day quarantine, 21 individuals were foreigners and 19 individuals at quarantine centres had been tested positive.
“Majority of persons who were tested positive for the disease had already been infected before arriving in Sri Lanka. The government requests individuals who had arrived in the island from foreign countries to register at the nearest police to put them under house quarantine process “, he said adding that over 4,000 persons have been registered with the Police, so far.
Director General Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe, explaining the precautions taken by the Health Ministry said the Government had decided to permit private hospitals to conduct the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test under strict conditions.
“It is mandatory that permitted private hospitals make the tests results available within 24-hours to their customers. The test should be available at Rs, 6,000, which is the price declared by the Government for a test conducted at private hospitals,” he said.
Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said the Government had no plans to have a lock down as it would create unnecessary hardships to ordinary people.
“In addition to having medical expertise and facilities ready to treat people infected by coronavirus, the 12 hospitals in several districts are kept on standby,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Police have imposed curfew to restrict travel and movement in the Puttalam District and Kochchikade in Negombo from 4.30 pm today.
Accordingly, Police curfew will be imposed in Puttalam, Anamaduwa, Kalpitiya, Karuwalagaswewa, Mundalama, Nawagaththegama, Pallama, Wanathawilluwa, Udappuwa, Norochcholai and in the Saliyawewa police areas in the Puttalam Division.
In addition, curfew will also be imposed in police areas of Chilaw, Dankotuwa, Koswatta, Madampe, Marawila, Wennappuwa and Arachchikattuwa in the Chilaw Police Division.