COLOMBO: Sri Lankan authorities on Tuesday declared the districts of Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara as ‘high risk’ areas amidst the spread of Covid-19 and imposed an indefinite curfew in these areas.

The indefinite lockdown for Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara was imposed after inordinate traffic blocks were seen and throngs of people tried desperately to get into shops to secure food items and other essential items during the brief interval when curfew was lifted on Tuesday.

The efforts of the curfew and the wide spread advice on the one metre distance between people, carried out thus far seemed to backfire in these districts as hapless crowds jostled each other and attempted to get provisions when the curfew was lifted for six hours for people to re-stock on essential items.

What was seen in Colombo has prompted the government to arrange for essential items to be delivered to homes.

The statement by the president’s office announcing the indefinite curfew of Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara, said that essential items including medicines will be delivered to peoples’ doorsteps as the public had been banned from leaving their homes until further notice.

“Large crowds in shops had been observed after curfew was lifted this morning in three districts. Health officials fear that this in turn could lead to a wider and faster spread of the virus,” the statement from the president’s office said.

“Therefore, the government has directed wholesale dealers to deliver essential consumer goods to the doorstep of each household until the situation is brought under control,” the statement added.Sri Lanka has identified 101 positive patients while over 200 are under observation in around the specially designated hospitals across the country.

Published in Dawn, March 25th, 2020