State celebrations of the Buddhist festival of Wesak, a national holiday in Sri Lanka, will go ahead on the Jaffna island of Nainathivu as planned, despite rising coronavirus infections and restrictions across the North-East.
At a press meet about the increasing risks of COVID-19 Jaffna District Secretary K. Mahesan said that he had not been instructed to cancel the festivities.
When pressed by journalists as to how the festival could go ahead when Sri Lanka’s Army Commander who heads the pandemic task force, Shavendra Silva, had declared the next three weeks as a precautionary period to avoid travel and festivities or functions, the District Secretary said that Wesak festivities would take place following health regulations and with limited numbers.
The state festivities are planned to last a week from May 23 to 28, with special events taking place on May 24.
Tamil groups have questioned the exemption of coronavirus restrictions for a Sinhala Buddhist festival, when Tamil holidays, protests and memorials have faced crackdowns throughout the pandemic.