Gatherings in North prevented under quarantine law – Defence Min.

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Defence Ministry has instructed security forces in the North to take necessary actions to prevent holding any gatherings or meetings in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, and Mullaithivu under the Quarantine law to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

With some information reaching the Ministry that some groups are planning to gather people to hold Mullivaikkal commemoration day ignoring health advice given by the provincial health authorities, the Ministry has instructed the Security Forces Commanders in the North to strictly follow the provisions of the Quarantine and Prevention of Diseases Ordinance No.03 of 1897, which was amended by an Extraordinary Gazette No.2167/18.

Since some coronavirus infected persons were reported in the North after their association with a Switzerland-based coronavirus infected Christian Pastor, who conducted a service at the Philadelphia Church in Ariyalai, Nallur in Jaffna, the quarantine law was fully enforced by the authorities with the assistance of health and security officials to prevent people crossing the district borders and also holding mass gatherings in the North.

Defence Secretary Major General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne has instructed the Security Forces and the Police to strictly follow quarantine law to contain the spread of coronavirus in the North, which has been controlled to a greater extent now.

However, politicians M.K. Sivagilingam, C.V. Vignashwaran, and Nadarasa Vindan, and a provincial councilor who tried to cross the Sangupiddy roadblock were not allowed as they did not possess essential services passes, which are required to cross district boundaries.

“Only essential services are allowed to cross the Sangupiddy roadblock but those three politicians did not have any passes and they are not required to engage in essential services,” Security Forces Commander Major General Ruwan Wanigasooriya said.

He said they had been turned back after explaining the restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the Coronavirus.

Major General Wanigasooriya said some people who came in numbers had also been sent back as they were trying to cross the district borders.

He informed that anyone who wanted to commemorate their loved ones, who died in the 30-year long war, could remember them at their homes following health advice to prevent coronavirus from spreading further.

“In this peaceful region, they can remember their loved ones who died in the war in their homes but no one is allowed to hold mass celebrations,” he said.