By Sandun A. Jayasekera
Curfew in Colombo,Gampaha, Kalutara,Puttalam, Kandy and Jaffna Districts will be continued until further notice. In other districts curfew was to be lifted at 6 a.m. today. It is to be re-imposed at 2.00 p.m. the Presidential Secretariat announced.
While the Police and the Army apply the laws strictly on those who violate the curfew in force, the Presidential Secretariat said travelling to and from all districts was completely prohibited except for the purpose of providing essential services. “Those who misuse regulations introduced with the aim of continuing essential services will severely be dealt with according to the law, ” it said.
In the case of food transport, only wholesale traders of rice, vegetables, coconuts, fruits and fish were permitted to transport their goods to wholesale markets like Manning Market, Peliyagoda fish market and Dedicated Economic Centres like Dambulla, Veyangoda and Piliyandala etc. No retail trade was permitted yesterday.
Since the sole purpose of these measures is to ensure the well-being of the people of this country in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak, the Government requested the public to strictly follow the guidelines in a responsible manner.
Meanwhile, Army Commander, Lt. General Shavendra Silva, who spearheads the war against COVID-19 said only those who engage in essential services including food distribution and to purchase essential medicine will be permitted to travel.
“The COVID-19 is an extremely destructive and strong virus that spreads fast. It does not come to you if you take precautionary measures as advised by the health authorities. Only if you, one of your family members or any visitor to your residence did not bring the virus from outside, there is no possibility for infection to you or your
family member. That is why we say that please stop all travelling out of your house and don’t entertain visitors to your residence until we successfully tackle this challenge. As long as you adhere to these instructions you are safe from COVID-19 viral infection,” General Silva stressed.
Expressing his disappointment on the unpatriotic and extremely irresponsible behaviour of certain individuals, Mr. Silva said on Saturday night, the officers of the Army Intelligence were able to track down two individuals infected with COVID-19, who had evaded quarantine and associated with many in the society freely.
“We don’t know the exact number of people these two men have infected. Most of those who had acted as carriers of the COVID-19 are those who had arrived in the country after January 10 from India, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. When we detected them we had no option but to bring the entire community under quarantine,” Mr. De Silva said and added families in Kadayankulam in Puttalam, Atulugama in Kalutara, Colomugahawatta in Akurana off Kandy had been declared out of bounds for visitors or travelling out to prevent the spread of the virus further”.
By last morning a total of 6,041 individuals had been arrested and 1,477 vehicles taken in for violating the curfew. During the 24 hours ended 6 a.m. yesterday alone the police had arrested 856 individuals and taken in 184 vehicles.
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