By Sandun A. Jayasekera
Chief of Defence Staff and Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva yesterday requested all Sri Lankans to bear with the health authorities, the armed forces and the Police for another few days and help to issue a positive report on the pandemic enabling the government to lift the curfew and bring civilian life to normalcy from Monday.
The curfew was re-imposed at 8.00 pm yesterday and is scheduled to lift at 5.00 am on Monday in 21 districts except the Western Province and Puttalam District.
“We have won a 30-year separatist war, stood the tsunami and the Easter Sunday terrorist attack. You spent the New Year amid curfew and celebrating the Vesak festival at home would not have been a difficult task for you. You all showed a great resolve, took these calamities in your stride and helped the country to come out strong and unscathed. Therefore, consider the COVID-19 as a bomb threat and keep it away all the time,” he said.
Sri Lanka was reaching the final stage of bringing the pandemic under full control. The behaviour of the public as well as the COVID 19 viral infection in the next few days will be vital when the government reviews the next cause of action to be taken from Monday, Lt. Gen. Silva who is spearheading the fight against COVID-19 stressed.
The Army chief said 226 citizens who underwent quarantine were released yesterday from quarantine centres and another 136 from Bandaranayakapura refereed to quarantine process.
Meanwhile, the national carrier SriLankan Airlines flew 194 Sri Lankans who were stranded in the UK, back home early morning yesterday. A SriLankan flight brought back 180 Sri Lankans last afternoon. A majority of them were students, who had also been stranded in that country. Ten Singaporeans went home on board the special flight to Singapore. Another cargo aircraft left for Dubai yesterday was scheduled to land at the BIA late last night with 260 Sri Lankans from Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
The 480 passengers who arrived were subject health check at the BIA and sent for 14-day quarantine by the Air Force.
Meanwhile, the police arrested 394 individuals and detained 87 vehicles for violating curfew in the past 24 hours ended at 6.00 am yesterday, and the total number of violators arrested from March 20, stood at 47,236 and 12,239 vehicles have been detained so far.