Sri Lanka will end its COVID-19 lockdown enforced last month on October 1, health minister Keheliya Rambukwella said on Wednesday, even as the medical professionals warned against the unrestricted re-opening of the country. The lockdown that was imposed on August 20 following a spike in COVID-19 cases will be lifted at 4 am (local time) on October 1 and new guidelines aimed at curbing the further spread of coronavirus will be announced, he said.
“These conditions, to be announced by the health authorities, will be imposed to curtail movement of the people and curb further spread of the virus,” Rambukwella said. The announcement came as the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) warned that the unrestricted re-opening of the country will lead to a resumption of transmission.
“Because the prevailing case numbers are high, it is likely to lead to a more rapid rise of cases than previously, despite the high vaccine coverage, the SLMA said in a statement. Following weeks of persuasion by the medical professionals, the government decided to impose lockdown in mid-August after the health facilities came under strain due the raging third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 death toll, which stood under 1,000 by the end of April, surged to nearly 13,000 by Tuesday. Health officials have said there has been a decrease in the daily number of COVID-19 cases which had crossed 2,000-mark.
There were over 900 new infections on Tuesday with 55 deaths confirmed on Monday, a drop from over 2,000 daily cases reported mostly in August.