<br>Army Commander and the head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of Covid-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO), Shavendra Silva said curfew would be imposed from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. daily from August 16.
Recording a daily upward trend, 161 Covid-19 deaths were reported on Saturday (the latest available figures) increasing the total Covid deaths in the island nation to 6,096. With Saturday's death toll, Sri Lanka has become the country with fourth highest deaths per million persons after Georgia, Tunisia, and Malaysia. This is among the countries with a population over a million.
Amid calls by experts for a lockdown, the government tightened restrictions on public gatherings and directed all weddings and any functions at homes or hotels be cancelled from Monday onwards.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Pavithradevi Wanniarachchi announced that health guidelines that were imposed to prevent the spread of Covid pandemic were being made a law through an extraordinary gazette notice. She said that stricter restrictions would be enforced in the Western Province, which has country's commercial capital Colombo, as the highly transmissible Delta variant was fast spreading.
However despite repeated requests by the health experts, the government has refused to lock down the country.
The Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) Union on Sunday urged people to go into self-imposed lockdown from Monday as the country is in an extremely dangerous situation due to the highly contagious Delta variant. The union said that it had made the public appeal as the government was not heeding to the requests by them or the health experts.
World Health Organisation's (WHO) National Independent Expert Group on Wednesday urged the government, among other measures, to close the country for four weeks to avert about 18,000 deaths. It also insisted on enforcing curfew for a short period, in large geographic areas or nationally.