Sri Lanka’s President’s Media Division has reported that the state-imposed curfew will be temporarily lifted to restore normalcy despite the increased militarisation of the North and East and deteriorated living conditions which have led people to starvation.
The state-imposed curfew is expected to be lifted in all districts except Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Puttalam, Kandy, Kegalle and Ampara on Monday 20 April at 5 am and will be reimposed at 8 pm that evening.
Throughout the curfew, there has been an increase in militarisation accompanied by an increase in arrests and difficulty accessing relief. Many people in the North-East, who have been promised of an emergency fund of Rs.5,000.00 per family, have not been given those funds and are at risk of starvation. There have been over 19,000 arrests island-wide for violating curfew regulations since the curfew was first imposed on March 20.
Those arrested include local councillors in Jaffna providing voluntary relief packages to vulnerable villagers and activists who have criticised the government. Human Rights Watch has raised concerns over these arrests which the government have claimed are necessary to prevent the spread of false information.
Director-General of Health Services, Dr. Anil Jasinghe, maintains that despite the easing of restrictions threat posed by the coronavirus has not been eradicated.