The Sri Lankan government is due to lift lockdown restrictions, which were introduced due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on Monday, May 11. Restrictions are to be lifted in the districts of Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, and Puttalam; however, authorities have requested that the public continue to adhere to social distancing measures. Government offices and private businesses will be permitted to resume operations; however, employers are responsible for judging how many employees may return to work. The public have been asked to continue to avoid unnecessary travel and gatherings. Those who do not return to work on Monday are required to remain at home and only leave for the purchase of essential items such as food and medicine. A curfew remains in effect between 20:00 and 05:00 (local time) in these districts until 05:00 on Monday.
Separately, on Saturday, April 25, Sri Lankan Airlines announced an extension to the suspension of passenger flights through Friday, May 15, due to COVID-19 restrictions and the indefinite closure of all international airports nationwide. The initial suspension was implemented on Wednesday, April 8, and originally due to expire on Tuesday, April 21. The company stated that repatriation flights will still be arranged on a case-by-case basis, and cargo transport for essential medical supplies and services will continue. Meanwhile, only departing flights with passengers originating from Colombo will be allowed to operate under the restriction; emergency diversions, technical landings, and freighter operations will also be allowed. Authorities have banned cruise ship passengers from disembarking in Sri Lanka until further notice.
The National Election Commission announced that the parliamentary elections, initially scheduled for Saturday, April 25, will now be held on Saturday, June 20.
As of Sunday, May 10, there have been 847 confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases nationwide, with nine associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
Copyright and Disclaimer