The Government has taken steps to impose the curfew conditions and regulations even more strictly in the backdrop of reports that some had misused certain concessions granted to purchase medicines, etc. to violate the curfew and pose a danger to others.
The curfew has been imposed with the sole purpose of preventing the spread of COVID–19, which has now become a major health issue, the President’s Office said. Police and the Tri-Force should strictly implement curfew regulations, it added. To date, nearly 5,000 persons who violated the curfew have been arrested.
Accordingly, acting IGP C. D. Wickramaratne has instructed police stations to ensure that all supermarkets, groceries and private pharmacies in the country are closed with immediate effect, except state-run Osu Sala outlets, said DIG Ajith Rohana.
He said that although supermarkets have been permitted to home deliver essential food items to consumers, there have been reports that certain supermarkets and grocery stores were open for business and selling goods to customers during the curfew. However, pharmacies will be allowed to deliver medicine to homes and filling stations too will be kept open.
Meanwhile, the Task Force entrusted with the management of the essential food and other items distribution has taken all the necessary measures to ensure continued and streamlined door to door supply of essential items for the people to purchase.
While the curfew is in force no one should be on the roads at their freewill. Only the delivery vehicles permitted by the Task Force are allowed to ply. No other vehicle will be allowed on public roads without a valid curfew pass, DIG Rohana said.
Traveling to and from between any district is entirely prohibited. Transporting foreign tourists from place to place is also banned. Paddy farming and plantation including work on tea small holdings and fishing activities are permitted in any district. Airports and Ports will continue their regular operations, though no incoming passengers are allowed.
Steps should be taken to continue with the national economy while acting in accordance with the doctors instructions at this crucial juncture to combat the COVID 19, emphasized former Minister Basil Rajapaksa.
Hence, heads of public and private banks agreed to keep at least one bank branch open in each divisional secretariat division where curfew is implemented to assist the economic activities.
The agreement was reached at the newly formed Presidential Task Force meeting headed by former Minister Basil Rajapaksa on Supplying Essential Goods, under the instructions of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. The meeting was held at the Temple Trees with heads of banks and public and private financial institutions on Thursday, March 26.
Attention was drawn to function commercial banks enabling to continue with the international transactions and to keep the bank branches open with the minimum number of staff. Automated Teller Machine (ATM) service will continue and the possibility of providing ATM mobile service was also discussed.
The possibility of the banks reaching their clients rather than the latter reaching the banks at crucial moments like the world is facing now, was also discussed.