Sri Lanka yesterday banned all passenger flights and ships from entering the country, a further attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the president’s office said.
“The ban will not be altered for any circumstance,” read a statement from the president’s office.
Sri Lanka has been permitting airlines to operate outgoing flights, enabling tourists to leave the country, also allowing them to use the airport as a transit point.
Passenger ships have also been allowed to enter the country without disembarking at the port.
Currently around 30,000 tourists are in the country.
The moves came as Sri Lanka stepped up measures to prevent the spread of the virus after
declaring a curfew.
A 60-hour-long curfew imposed on Friday evening and due to end early on Monday has been extended in three of the country’s 25 districts, until tomorrow morning.
The three districts include the capital Colombo and two adjoining districts, where 50 of 78 coronavirus patients have been found.
“We had only two more cases of coronavirus cases on Saturday and thereby increasing the number to 78, but we are not relaxing the preventive measures”, Director General of Health
Services Anil Jasinghe said.
Police yesterday said some 340 people have been arrested for defying a curfew imposed by the government in an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The arrests were made between 6am on March 20 and 9am yesterday, reports the Daily Financial Times newspaper.
Among the arrested, some had engaged in sports in public playgrounds, kept their shops open, while others were found drunk on the streets, according to the Police Media Division.
Legal action will be taken against the violators, it added.
On Saturday, a prisoner died and three others were injured when fighting broke out in a jail over rumours of coronavirus.
In Anuradhapura prison, scene of frequent protests against ill-treatment in recent years, inmates fought staff, fearing that the virus had entered the jail.
“Contrary to rumours floating around, no one has tested positive at the Anuradhapura prison,” said lawmaker Namal Rajapaksa.
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