Colombo: The total number of the novel coronavirus cases in Sri Lanka reached 143 with 21 fresh cases being reported on Tuesday, the highest single-day increase so far, health officials said on Wednesday, underlining that next two weeks will be crucial.
The island nation has recorded only one death due to the novel coronavirus. A 65-year-old diabetic man who died on Sunday had contracted the virus from Lanka’s second COVID 19 patient who was in contact with a group of Italian tourists.
Another 21 COVID-19 infected patients were reported in Sri Lanka on Tuesday, the highest single-day increase so far, increasing the total number of cases to 143, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.
A total of 173 more people are under observation at National Institute of Infectious Diseases (IDH).
Meanwhile, the country continues to remain under curfew and a restriction remained imposed on foreign arrivals.
Indefinite curfew will continue in Colombo, Gampaha, Kaluthra, Puttalam, Jaffna and Kandy, while for other regions, the ban was lifted for eight hours — from 6:00 AM to 2:00 PM — on Monday.
The areas have been placed under a strict curfew with deliveries of essentials to households. In order to prevent public movements.
Over 7,000 people have been arrested for curfew violations, police said.
Health officials said Sri Lanka is reaching its critical phase of the COVID-19 with the advent of April.
“The next two weeks will be crucial,” Jayaruwan Bandara of the Medical Research Institute said.
“Sri Lanka is showing the same pattern of spike as was seen in other countries like Italy, Spain and US. So please stay indoors. This will be the only way to prevent this from being spread,” Bandara said.
Travelling to and from all districts is completely prohibited except for the purpose of providing essential services.
The ban on foreign arrivals has been extended till April 7 to contain the spread of the virus.
The Commissioner General of Prisons said some 1,460 prisoners will be released in view of the coronavirus threat.
Those inmates will be released who are serving jail terms for failing to fulfil bail conditions, he said.
Meanwhile, the Central Bank has announced setting up of a refinancing facility which includes a debt moratorium and a working capital loan for the COVID-19 hit businesses and individuals. Small and Medium Enterprises are to benefit under the scheme.
According to the estimates by the Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 850,500 confirmed coronavirus cases in the world, and over 41,000 deaths.