Sri Lanka resumes public transport; health officials concerned about lax attitude regarding: COVID-19


ECONOMYNEXT – Public transport services between Sri Lanka’s provinces resumed normal operations on Sunday (31) as authorities lifted a nearly six-month COVID-19 interprovincial travel ban, although public health officials warned of increasing daily cases of COVID-19.

With the ban now lifted, public transport services can operate under strict health guidelines, a transport official said.

“We have around 5,500 buses, of which around 5,000 will operate from November 1,” Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) Chairman Kingsley Ranawaka said on Sunday.

“The minister also advised to also launch city bus services. “

Minister of State for Transport Services Dimuth Amunugama told reporters on Sunday that buses will be allowed to run according to their seating capacity. Any bus driver who violates this condition will be arrested, he said.

“All buses must strictly adhere to sanitary guidelines,” Amunugama said.

“They can only carry passengers depending on the number of seats. If this is not taken into account, there is a good chance that the healthcare sector will again impose restrictions on transport services. “

Sri Lanka Railways (SLR), meanwhile, said there will be 152 daily train trips starting November 1. Authorities have asked the general public to use the service without creating a rush.

“About sixty trains will run on Monday (01),” SLR general manager Dhammika Jayasunadara told reporters on Sunday.

The easing of travel restrictions comes amid reports from health officials expressing frustration over the public’s apparent contempt for health guidelines.

“The easing of restrictions does not mean that people can go on a trip and ignore the guidelines,” Public Health Inspectors’ Union (PHI) president Upul Rohana told reporters.

“If we do not strictly follow the health guidelines, we will again be faced with a dire situation in the near future. There are already signs of an increase in the number of patients in several areas. “

Sri Lanka detected 542 patients on October 31, bringing the total number of cases to 541,073.

Director General of Health Services Dr Asela Gunawardena said a booster of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be given from Monday (01), starting with frontline health workers, the three forces and the police personnel, airport employees, port employees and people in the tourism industry. . The reminder will then be given to the population over 60 years old, followed by people with health problems between 30 and 60 years old, and finally all people over 20 years old.

Related: Sri Lanka to Start Third Covid Vaccine for Frontline Health, Border and Tourism Workers

(Colombo / Nov01 / 2021)

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