Speaking to the Daily News, Head of the National Operation Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak – Army Commander General Shavendra Silva said that this was a countrywide quarantine curfew and the decision was taken with a view to vaccinate all people above 60 years who are yet to get a Covid jab before 30th.
“The essential services, export industry and the agriculture sector that would be allowed to operate. All pharmacies are allowed to remain open during the period and all others have to remain closed. We don’t expect people to get onto the streets and they are strictly advised to remain at home.”
He said that even those with provisions to travel, such as persons engaged in essential services, should not misuse their facilities as this is a serious situation. “We appeal to the people to remain at home during this period and not venture out unless it is an absolute emergency or those engaged in essential services.”
The Army Commander also said that the President had issued directives to ensure that all those above the age of 60 are vaccinated and accordingly, the Army will launch a vaccination drive for all those above 60 years.
“As of yesterday, around 75% of those who died due to Covid are those above the age of 60. A majority of them are also those who have not received a single dose of the vaccine.”
Therefore, he said that the President had instructed all Government Agents to collect details of all those above the age of 60 and send these details before August 23 to the Army so that the Army could cooperate with them and implement a mechanism to vaccinate this vulnerable group. Facilities have been provided to register by calling 1906 hotline or the National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO).
With regard to those who had already received the vaccination, the Commander said that over 12 million persons had been vaccinated with the first dose so far, which is almost 100% of the above 30 group. “We were supposed to vaccinate around 11.5 million, but some above the age of 30 and 60 had not received the vaccine. However, the 12 million vaccines were recorded because we also administered the vaccine to some below the age of 30 who were engaged in the export sector,” he said, adding that the Government’s aim is to ensure that all eligible citizens in the country have received both doses of the vaccine by mid-September.Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to increase in Sri Lanka and the country has detected over 377,973 COVID-19 cases and over 6,790 deaths reported so far.The Director-General of Health Services on Thursday (19) confirmed another 186 coronavirus-related deaths and this is the highest number of deaths reported within a day since the beginning of the pandemic.President Rajapaksa has also advised the IGP to search for those who violate the quarantine curfew and strictly enforce laws against them. The President instructed the State Minister of Indigenous Medicine Promotion, Rural and Ayurvedic Hospitals Development and Community Health to take steps to provide indigenous medicines to the people in the rural and urban areas during this period.