Colombo, October 31
Sri Lanka’s inter-provincial travel ban, which was imposed in May due to the raging third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, ended on Sunday despite warnings from medical professionals.
The travel ban was maintained despite the end of the government’s quarantine curfew on October 1, which was continuously in effect from August 20.
Public Transport Minister Dilum Amunugama said transport services would come into operation from Monday.
The lifting of the travel ban came as the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) warned of a possible new wave of easing restrictions.
In a letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, SLMA said it was more important than ever that specific action be taken at this point.
He recommended close monitoring as health guidelines are not implemented and the general public continues to ignore them.
They recommend a third dose or booster of Pfizer vaccine for priority groups such as the elderly and frontline health workers.
SLMA cited recent studies which showed that 7% of the elderly population, who had received the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, had not developed an adequate level of immunity against the virus.
With the increase in public movement, SLMA said the risk of older people contracting the virus has increased and that they are more prone than other groups to serious conditions and death.
The Department of Health’s epidemiology unit said as of Saturday, more than 15.4 million of the island’s 21 million people had received at least one dose. In addition, 13.4 million people had received both jabs.
Sri Lanka’s death toll since the March 2020 outbreak stood at nearly 13,800 with more than 540,000 infections. PTI