Sri Lanka extends national COVID-19 lockdown

Sri Lanka’s national COVID-19 lockdown was due to conclude today but has been extended until October 1st by President Gotabhaya.

Sri

Photo: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

Sri Lanka’s national COVID-19 lockdown was due to conclude today but has been extended until October 1st by President Gotabhaya.

This national lockdown, originally intended to last for 10 days, began on August 20th after mounting pressure on the government from healthcare leaders and the opposition. The lockdown has since been extended several times as the COVID-19 situation in Sri Lanka remains severe. Though the daily infection rate has fallen by 50% since the lockdown began the 2,700 infections per day are still more than hospitals can handle. The Sri Lankan economy has also seen tremendous damage since the pandemic started, with lockdowns disrupting tourism and other key industries.

Expect cases in Sri Lanka to continue decline in the coming weeks, and for the lockdown to lifted in early October. Still even as this wave subsides, expect cases to rise again if too high a percentage of the population yet remains unvaccinated when the lockdown ends. Economically, Sri Lanka will only be able to recover from the damage in the long term once the country is able to stably remain open; if vaccination rates do not increase, the country may need to continue with intermittent lockdowns hampering trade and tourism.

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