A security guard checks the temperature of a student after their school was reopened in Colombo on July 6. Sri Lanka has decided to close schools again for one week from July 13-17. (Photo: Lakruwan Wanniarachichi/AFP)
Sri Lanka has decided to close schools again for one week from July 13-17 as the risk of Covid-19 has re-emerged in the past few days, with new cases reported.
The Ministry of Education said the decision would be followed by all private schools, international schools, and tuition classes.
It is the Ministry of Education's responsibility to create a conducive environment for the implementation of school education. It also decides on granting leave to all schools and Pirivenas — monastic colleges for monks.
"It will be compelled to close all schools, Piriven institutions and other educational institutions across the island if the Covid-19 situation takes a turn for the worse in the country," said the Education Ministry.
According to the Health Ministry, Covid-19 cases jumped to 2,615 on July 12 after 104 more individuals tested positive for the coronavirus.
According to the Health Promotion Bureau, 614 patients are receiving treatment at hospitals, and another 99 individuals are currently under observation in hospitals.
Schools reopened from July 6 in four stages after being closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic on March 13. Under the third stage, schools will open for students in grades 10 and 12 from July 20.
The Election Commission set August 5 as the new date for parliamentary elections. A total of 196 legislators will be directly elected to the 225-member House, from the 25 districts.
Ruling party Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna has temporarily halted campaign rallies with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa until further notice.
The Director-General of Health Services has granted permission to recommence Sunday schools observing guidelines issued by the health authorities.
Bishop Valence Mendis, chairman of the Catholic Education, Catechetics and Bible Apostolate, said the diocesan directors might consult bishops of dioceses to decide on the exact date to begin Sunday schools.
Some groups have expressed concern over easing lockdown measures with the emergence of a new cluster of infections.
"We believe there is a high risk of spreading the Covid-19 epidemic in the community due to lack of proper measures to control the spread of the disease," the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) said in a statement.
The SLMA pointed out that due to the relaxation of restrictions on public meetings, the continued operation of public transport services, the wide opening of recreational activities, and other questionable practices, people have moved away from disease prevention practices.