Public assembly including large scale election gatherings to be restricted if situation worsens

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Sri Lankan health authorities are closely monitoring the global COVID-19 outbreak and studying its mode of transmission from country to country and will caution against large scale public gatherings including large election gatherings if the situation worsens, sources from the Health Ministry told the reporters yesterday.

However, with Sri Lanka having no confirmed cases of the virus presently and with strict preventive measures in place, there will be no immediate restrictions.

With Sri Lanka just weeks away from election campaigning for the April 25 general elections, the health ministry is closely monitoring the situation and will impose certain restrictions against large gatherings if the country faces a high risk of importing the virus.

“If there is an uncontrollable spread and if Sri Lanka is also at a very high risk of importing the virus into the country then we will have to take a decision,” sources said.

Neighbouring Maldives reported two cases of the COVID-19 over the weekend while India has reported 43 cases.

Maldives yesterday suspended all election campaigning activities for the upcoming local council elections and women’s development committee elections after the two confirmed cases were detected.

Cases in South Asia still remain relatively low compared to the west, Europe and East Asia but WHO has urged all countries to continue efforts that have been effective in limiting the number of cases and slowing the spread of the virus.

As of yesterday evening, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally surpassed 100 000 while the death toll has surpassed 3000.

In Sri Lanka, 16 suspected cases have been admitted to hospital but the Health Ministry said they were likely to test negative.