Sri Lankan authorities have imposed an indefinite nationwide night curfew which will come into effect on Monday (August 16) night as the country faces a rising tide of infections linked to the fast-spreading Delta variant.
The curfew will be imposed from 22.00 to 04.00 daily, along with a ban on social gatherings, public events and seminars.
Government officials said if the number of infections continue to rise sharply, longer curfew hours and lockdowns will be considered.
The curfew, which was announced on Sunday (August 15), comes a week after healthcare personnel urged the government to impose a nationwide lockdown or curfews as capacity reaches breaking point at hospitals across the country amid a Delta-fuelled spike in Covid-19 cases.
Sri Lanka recorded 3,435 Covid-19 cases and 161 deaths on Sunday, bringing the total tally to 354,968 infections and 6,096 deaths.
Tourism industry sources said that the rising number of infections in Sri Lanka coupled with hospital capacity constraints have led to concerns among foreign tourist operators about promoting the destination.
As of July 31, a total of 19,337 tourists visited Sri Lanka this year, marking a decline of 96.2 per cent from last year when 507,311 tourists visited the country from January through March 18, 2020 when the airport closed.
Meanwhile, the ongoing inter-provincial travel ban has derailed the country’s domestic tourism recovery and placed further pressure on hotels grappling to stay afloat during these challenging times.