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Coronavirus cases rise to 70 in Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan government confirmed that at least 70 patients have tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, as it announced a curfew would be in place over the weekend.

A reported 18 of the confirmed cases are from Gampaha, 17 are from Colombo and 12 are from Puttalam. Three cases have been reported in Batticaloa and 1 in Vavuniya, with other districts in the North-East unaffected, as of yet.

The island’s first patient was a Chinese tourist in January, with the first domestic transmission earlier this month, many of them arrivals from Italy. 

The Sri Lankan military has been deployed to tackle the crisis, with the head of the Sri Lankan army, who is currently subject to US travel sanctions due to his role in overseeing war crimes, leading the response task force.