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Coronavirus cases reach 100 in Sri Lanka

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

Sri Lanka's coronavirus cases on Tuesday reached 100 with authorities reporting four new cases, health officials said.

In view of the rising number of the novel coronavirus cases globally, the country has suspended all international flights arriving in the country.

"We have found four more today and all of them were arrivals from abroad three from Italy and one from the US," Dr Anil Jasinghe, Director General of Health Services, said.

On Tuesday, the authorities opened the capital city of Colombo for the first time in four days after a continuous curfew as part of the lockdown to combat COVID-19.

Long queues were seen outside super markets and retailers as people lined up to buy essentials.

The three Western province districts which included capital Colombo was designated high risk zones for the spread and the areas will remain under an indefinite curfew.

Officials said the decision was made having gauged the level of high numbers of people gathering at trading stores to buy their essentials. This posed a greater risk for further spread of the disease.

The authorities decided to relax the curfew conditions asking the traders to remain open until they served the last customer before the curfew came to be reimposed at 2 PM (local time).

Pharmacists were asked to keep open despite the curfew and ensure deliveries.

The chief of the COVID-19 operations Army chief General Shavendra Silva said that over 300 persons who underwent a 14-day quarantine period on Tuesday left the centres located in the eastern and northern provinces.

All of them were returnees from Italy and South Korea. They have been issued a certificate to say they do not carry the virus.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa chaired an all-party meeting to discuss the crisis.

"We decided to seek the views of all political parties which represented parliament and to get their assistance too to face the situation," he said.

The Sri Lankan government on Monday pledged to contribute USD 5 million to the SAARC Coronavirus Emergency Fund proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with an initial offer of USD 10 million from India to help combat the fast-spreading COVID-19 pandemic in the region.

The total number of deaths from the coronavirus cases stood at 16,961 across the world, according to multiple reports.

More than 386,350 declared cases have been registered in 175 countries and territories since the pandemic first emerged in China in December.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, March 24 2020. 21:46 IST