Chance of lowering restrictions in low risk districts after New Year season?


A review meeting of the progress of the Covid-19 prevention programme, held on Saturday, presided over by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has held out the possibility that the current restrictions, imposed on low risk districts, could be lifted by the end of the Sinhala New Year season.

The following is the text communiqué issued by the Presidential Secretariat on the meeting:

COVID-19 prevention programme proceeds with professional expertise


·  Progress of ongoing COVID-19 prevention program reviewed

·  Timely action by Government has kept the epidemic  under control

·  Procedures adopted has helped correctly identify both the infected and the compromised

·  Country still not out of danger

·  Prevention programme likely to continue till end of New Year season

·  COVID-19 prevention programme will continue to rely on expert advise

·  Regular and repeated tests to be done on infected and suspected 


Presided by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a discussion took place on Saturday (04), at the Presidential Secretariat, to review the progress of the COVID-19 prevention programmr and to decide on the steps needed to take this programme forward.


President of the Government Medical Officers Association, Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya, analyzed the manner this virus had affected the country, geographically, and the Government’s actions to control the spread. It was noted that the Government’s timely actions, from when this virus first entered the country, helped manage to keep the situation under control. It was also noted, at the discussion, that the steps adopted henceforth had helped officials to correctly identify both the infected and those who had been compromised due to associating the infected. However, it was also perceived that the danger is yet to pass. 

At the same time, it was observed that except for the few districts identified as high risk zones where the most number of COVID-19 patients were found, the spread of the virus, at present, does not pose a threat to other districts. Therefore, there is a possibility that the current restrictions, imposed on these districts, could be lifted by the end of the Sinhala New Year season. The current prevention programme will thus continue as it is until this period. Thereafter, a decision as to the next step to be taken will be considered after further studying the situation. 

Headed by President Rajapaksa this COVID-19 prevention programme thus far had been based on the professional advice from the health, medical, security and legal experts. The programme will continue to rely on these experts until the crisis is brought under control. The on-going processes will continue to monitor the pandemic from a global context whilst studying the guidelines issued periodically by the World Health Organization. Comparing these results and recommendations with the prevailing situation in Sri Lanka, the programme will be updated as suitable and needed. 

Not only COVID-19 positive patients, but also those suspected to have contracted the virus and those who had been in close association with these two groups will be regularly and repeatedly tested. This is in line with the procedures followed by countries that have successfully brought the spread of this virus under control. 

Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Former Western Province Governor Dr. Seetha Arambepola, Secretary Defence (Rtd) Major General Kamal Gunaratna, Commander of Sri Lanka Army Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Acting IGP C.D. Wickramarathna, officers from the Government Medical Officers Association and   Chairman of Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka Jayantha de Silva, joined the discussion.

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