The travel restrictions which are currently in place have been extended until the 7th of June. They will be relaxed on the 25th and 31st of May in keeping with the original schedule and additionally on the 4th of June between 4 am and 11 pm for the public to stock up on essential food and medicines.  

The decision to extend travel restrictions was taken this afternoon during a meeting of the National Operation Centre for the Prevention of Covid 19 (NOCPC).  

Among the decisions taken were to allow only retail outlets selling medicine, seafood and meat, groceries and bakery products to open on days the travel restrictions are lifted. Liquor shops will not be permitted to open for sales.

Other decisions included allowing only one member of a household to leave their home to go to the nearest retail outlet to purchase the essential items they require.   The use of private vehicles to travel around when the restrictions are lifted will not be allowed.  Meanwhile the ID card number system, where eligibility to go out was based on its last two digits, will not be enforced during times the restrictions are lifted.

Travel restrictions will be enforced strictly with the support of the air force which will deploy drones for surveillance of the public who violate restrictions.

Leading medical experts have for long been lobbying the government to impose a 14 – day continuous lockdown or curfew.   They have provided a scientific rationale to justify their lobby.  These experts have said that 14 days will cover two cycles of incubation periods of the infection which will be adequate to break the chain of uncontrolled spread of the disease and for a significant reduction of the caseload.  

Among these medical experts are Professor Malik Peiris, a public health virologist who played a key role in discovering the link between the novel coronavirus and acute respiratory syndrome, attached to the University of Hong Kong and Professor Kamini Mendisfrom the University of Colombo who worked for the WHO. A collective of four medical professionals in the country, the Sri Lanka Medical Association, the Government Medical Officers Association, Association of Medical Specialists and the Sri Lanka Medical Intercollegiate Committee issued a joint statement last week demanding a lockdown or curfew.  Some of these medical experts and collectives have been releasing statements independently, asking the public to remain indoors for 14 days, when there were no signs of the government taking their advice.



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