COLOMBO, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella Friday said a nationwide quarantine curfew which had come into effect from late August was extended till Oct. 1 to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following a meeting by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Rambukwella said that the president had decided to extend the quarantine curfew till 4:00 a.m. local time on Oct. 1.
Rambukwella however said government essential services impacting the economy will be allowed to function during the curfew.
"As per President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, I will be consulting with Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa to decide which government institutions will be kept open as essential services that contribute to the economy," Rambukwella said.
"While the lockdown is in progress, I urge all citizens to get the available vaccines as soon as possible," the minister added.
Sri Lanka was to lift the ongoing quarantine curfew on Sept. 21 but extended it following a recommendation from the health experts.
According to health experts, Sri Lanka is facing a rapid spread of the Delta variant of the virus with 498,694 people infected with the virus since March last year and 11,817 people dead from the virus.