Tuesday March 17, 2020 05:40:17
CORONA CONTROLS: A worker sprays disinfectant to sanitize a public bus as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus at a bus station in Colombo on March 16, 2020.
Lakruwan WANNIARACHCHI / AFP
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka escalated Coronavirus (CORVID19) controls asking only food supply, transport, banks health and essential state services to operate for three days in bid to prevent new infections while travel bans were slapped on more countries as infections climbed.
The government declared three holidays asking all non-essential businesses not to operate on March 17, 18 and 19 while asking some key government services and private businesses in banking, food transport and distribution to operate.
“Do not consider these Public Holidays (government agencies),’ the state information office said in a statement.
“Except for health, food supply, transport, essential services, banks, District Secretary and other divisional secretary offices, the holiday would apply to all ministries, departments, corporation and state agencies.
“The government is asking the holiday be given to the private sector as well. Monitoring the transmission of the COVID19 virus the government may or may not extend this holiday.”
Sri Lanka had closed schools, universities, museums, zoos in a bid to keep people at home and stop the spread of the virus. Court hearings and exams have been postponed. Church services have been closed until the end of the month.
On Monday Sri Lanka added Qatar, Bahrain, and Canada to the list of countries from which travelers would not be allowed in.
Carriers were also asked not to board anyone with a travel history in Iran, South Korea, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Austria, Netherlands and Denmark would for the last 14 days.
Infections are spreading mostly from Sri Lankans returning from infected countries, who were either working or on holiday.
Sri Lanka also asked anyone who bad arrived from Europe, Italy or Iran to register with police or risk punishment under the provisions of a Quarantine Ordinance as confirmed cases went up.