Sri Lanka announced a nationwide lockdown as Covid infections overwhelmed hospitals, morgues and crematoriums.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who had resisted calls for a lockdown for weeks, agreed to the 10-day closure after dire warnings that hospitals could no longer cope with the inflow of Covid-19 patients.
“Nationwide Lockdown in effect from 10pm today to Monday (30/08),” health minister Keheliya Rambukwella said on Twitter. “All essential services will function as normal. I sincerely request all #lka citizens to adhere to the law and #StayHome.”
Daily infections have more than doubled in a month to an average of 3,897, according to the Reuters Global Covid tracker.
The Indian Ocean nation recorded its highest single-day death toll at 187 with 3,793 cases of Covid infections.
Medical professionals, religious leaders, politicians and businessmen have called for an immediate nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of infections.