No decision yet on lockdown status in October

Denying reports that the Government has decided to reopen the country and call public and private sector employees to duty as usual from 1 October, the Government has announced that a final decision in that regard would be taken in the coming days following further discussions. 

There were reports circulating on several platforms to the effect that the country will be reopened on 1 October and that public and private sector employees will be called to work as usual. It was also reported that public transport services will be resumed as usual. Accordingly, the media questioned the relevant reports at the cabinet media briefing held yesterday (28). 

In response, Cabinet Co-Spokesman Dr. Ramesh Pathirana stated that no such decision has been taken so far. “No such decision has been taken at present. It will be further discussed and decided in the future,” he added.

Meanwhile, National Operations Centre for the Prevention of the Covid-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) Head and Army Commander Gen. Shavendra Silva yesterday told the media that the decision on whether to lift or extend the lockdown status on 1 October will be announced by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today (29) or tomorrow (30).

“We have been able to control the spread of the pandemic to the extent that only about 1,000 infections are reported daily. Accordingly, the President will announce as to whether the lockdown will be lifted or extended, within the course of today or tomorrow,” he noted.

Speaking to the media in Kandy, Gen. Silva also stated that the Covid-19 Task Force has been requested to work out the procedures by which state institutions and public transport services would be maintained once the islandwide lockdown is lifted.

Taking into account the rapid spread of Covid-19 and the increase of the number of Covid-19 deaths in the country, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, on 20 August, declared a lockdown status, which has subsequently been extended on multiple occasions, with the latest extension being till 4 a.m. on 1 October 2021.

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