15 March 2020
Colombo: The Sri Lankan government on Sunday declared March 16 a public holiday after the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the island nation rose to 10.
In a statement, the government's information department said that the holiday had been declared to prevent the spread of the virus across the island country, reports Xinhua news agency.
All businesses and shops will be closed and people have been requested to remain indoors.
Schools are also closed till April 20.
Besides the 10 cases, there were over 100 people under observation after they reported flu-like symptoms.
Most of them had recently returned from Italy and were put under quarantine.
The government has urged all those suffering from flu-like symptoms to seek medical attention immediately at 11 designated hospitals which can carry out tests for COVID-19.
Director General of Health Services at the Health Ministry Anil Jasinghe told reporters here that more cases were expected to be reported in the coming days due to a large number of Sri Lankans returning from Italy.
Presently, the Sri Lankan government has banned travellers from Europe, South Korea, Italy and Iran.
Sri Lankan nationals arriving from those countries will be taken to quarantine centers in Batticaloa and Kandakadu.