The current inter-provincial travel restrictions will be lifted after 4.00 am on October 31.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa stated that the decision was taken with the aim of maintaining the people’s daily lives under the new normalization.
These decisions were taken at the meeting of the Special Committee on COVID-19 Control which was held via video technology yesterday (29).
During this meeting, it was revealed that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the education of school children has been severely disrupted and considering this situation already the health recommendations have been issued to start the G.C.E. Ordinary Level and Advanced Level classes in all schools. The President pointed out that the principals should be made aware of this decision and the process of starting schools should be implemented expeditiously.
The President also directed the health and education authorities to expeditiously look into the possibility of commencing academic activities for the first year students of universities.
It was also decided to immediately look into the possibility of making the vaccination card compulsory when entering public places including shops and restaurants.
Health officials stated that there are legal provisions under the Covid-19 related law to enforce it against those who decline to get the vaccine, and the health officials further said that they have sought the Attorney General’s advice in this regard.
The President also scrutinized the progress of the vaccination programme implemented for schoolchildren.
The President emphasized the need to further strengthen the vaccination programme to reduce the Covid mortality rate and the number of infected persons. The President also instructed that all the people should be provided with the opportunity to be vaccinated by deploying vehicles for mobile vaccination in remote areas. It was also informed to obtain the assistance of Public Health Inspectors, Grama Niladharis and local political authorities in this regard.
The Provincial Health Directors revealed to the President the false propaganda carried out by various groups over vaccination. The President instructed the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to immediately look into various organized groups, including social media, which are trying to create an unnecessary fear among the public about vaccination.
President Rajapaksa pointed out that the Provincial and District Health Directors should take more responsibility in restoring normality in the country by bringing the current situation under control, and urged them to coordinate with all sectors and continue with their commitment to make the Covid eradication programme a success.
The tourism industry has been identified as the key sector in reviving the economy which has been affected by Covid-19. Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga pointed out the need to take a number of new decisions in this regard immediately. The President said that everyone should support with utmost enthusiasm to uplift the tourism industry subject to the advice of health experts.
A lengthy discussion was also held on providing foreign spectators the opportunity to visit Sri Lanka to attend future international sports competitions. The health sector pointed out that there is a potential to facilitate these visitors by limiting them to a bio-bubble.
Minister Namal Rajapaksa pointed out that many requests have been received from local and foreign sports events organizers to allow spectators to visit Sri Lanka to watch a number of matches, including the upcoming LPL tournament, and added that it will be a unique opportunity to promote the tourism industry and boost foreign exchange.