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Militarisation in Mannar ramped up as COVID-19 cases rise

Sri Lankan army and police officers were deployed across Mannar as the district was forced to go into a military-enforced lockdown following a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in the area.

The order was sanctioned on Monday after 103 people in Mannar were identified as having contracted the virus directly and over 150 identified and quarantined for their contacts with COVID-19 carriers.

“Necessary actions are being taken to reopen two Mannar villages that were earlier blocked on account of the coronavirus,” said Mannar District Regional Health Services director Dr. T. Vinothan.

“Following PCR tests conducted in the Mannar general hospital on October 7, eight people have tested positive for COVID-19. Further tests are due to be conducted for these persons,” he added.

Out of the eight persons whose cases were confirmed positive, seven came from Wennappuwa in the North-Western province to Pattithottam in Mannar for construction activities.

Dr. Vinothan also stated that some villages located around Mannar such as Pattithottam and Periyakadai have been temporarily closed in order to conduct tests in these areas in case anyone had contacts with COVID-19 patients.

Earlier this year, there were similar military-enforced lockdowns which masked the brutal assaults on Tamil civilians in the North-East. The lockdown is also said to have taken a severe toll in the economy of fish markets, timber shops and other business activities.

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