Coronavirus

Sri Lanka Bans Public Gatherings as Virus Surges

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — The Sri Lankan government on Sunday banned all public gatherings, its latest move to contain a rapid surge of COVID-19 cases.

The ban will be effective from Sunday night and people are urged to avoid visiting public places as much as possible, according to a government statement.

Also, restaurants are now allowed to accommodate only 50 percent of their capacity and wedding receptions will be banned beginning Aug. 17.

Sri Lanka is witnessing an unprecedented surge of COVID-19 cases and deaths over the last two weeks. Doctors have warned that hospitals and morgues are reaching their maximum capacities. The government has ruled out an immediate lockdown because of the country's ailing economy, despite repeated pleas from doctors.

Sri Lanka has so far reported 351,533 COVID-19 confirmed cases and 5,935 deaths.

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