BANGKOK (AP) — Sri Lanka has reimposed a countrywide 24-hour curfew after a surge in the number of coronavirus cases, most of them navy sailors who were searching for those evading quarantine.
The 46 new infections on Friday were the highest in a day. The Indian Ocean island nation has confirmed 420 cases of the virus, including seven deaths, and has ramped up testing.
Sri Lanka partially lifted a monthlong curfew on Monday during daytime hours in more than two thirds of the country.
The new curfew imposed on Friday night remains in effect until Monday. Police have arrested more than 30,000 violators.
Among the newly infected were 30 navy sailors from a camp on the outskirts of the capital, Colombo. A total 60 sailors so far have been infected and the camp has been isolated.
The virus is believed to have entered the camp through sailors who were deployed to search for a group of drug addicts who had contact with a COVID-19 patient and were evading quarantine.
Sri Lankan police officials spray disinfectants in a residential neighborhood during lockdown in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Thursday, April 16, 2020. Sri Lankan authorities claim they have largely managed to prevent community spreading through proper identification and isolation of people who came into contact with COVID-19 patients. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
Sri Lanka’s health ministry said Saturday that it has significantly increased the number of coronavirus tests being done. Some 1,500 tests were performed on Saturday — more than double the roughly 700 tests on Thursday, and over 350 more than the 1,142 tests on Friday, according to the ministry.
INDIA EASES LOCKDOWN
India announced the easing of a stringent lockdown for its 1.3 billion people by allowing neighbourhood and standalone shops to reopen. India has reported more than 24,500 coronavirus cases and 775 deaths. Last week, the government allowed resumption of manufacturing and farming activities in rural areas as millions of daily wage earners were left without work.
DOWNWARD TREND HOLDS IN S. KOREA
South Korea reported 10 new cases of the new coronavirus, the eighth day in a row of a jump below 20. No new deaths were reported Saturday for the second straight day. The figures released by South Korea’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention brought national totals to 10,718 cases and 240 deaths.
A Kashmiri Muslim man offers prayer on the banks of Dal Lake on the second day of Ramadan during lockdown to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Sunday, April 26, 2020. Kashmiri shrines that are usually packed with devotees during the holy month of Ramadan wore a deserted look Sunday as authorities closed the shrine for the safety of the public. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)
AUSTRALIA MARKS ANZAC DAY WITH HOME VIGILS
Traditional crowds at dawn services for the Anzac Day memorial holiday in Australia were replaced with candlelit vigils in driveways and neighbours gathering to listen to buglers play “The Last Post.” Restrictions on crowds and social distancing due to the coronavirus meant that the usual packed dawn services in cities and towns across the country were not held. The holiday, also celebrated in New Zealand, marks the anniversary of New Zealand and Australian soldiers, known as Anzacs, landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915. In New Zealand, where even tighter crowd restrictions are in place, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stood at dawn on the driveway of Premier House, the leader’s official residence, for a ceremony.
A woman and a girl wearing face masks to protect themselves from possibly contracting the coronavirus COVID-19 as they walk past a painting in Hong Kong, Saturday, April 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
NO NEW DEATHS IN CHINA
China reported no new deaths from the coronavirus for the 10th straight day. Twelve new cases were reported on Saturday — 11 brought from overseas and one local transmission in the north-eastern province of Heilongjiang bordering Russia, according to the National Health Commission. Just 838 people remain hospitalized with COVID-19 while another 1,000 are undergoing isolation and monitoring for being either suspected cases or having tested positive for the virus while showing no symptoms. China, widely believed to be the source of the global pandemic, has reported 4,632 deaths among 82,816 cases.