Sri Lanka parliamentary elections postponed

59 cases so far; government declares ‘work from home’ week

March 19, 2020 10:32 pm | Updated 10:32 pm IST - COLOMBO

Sri Lankan government soldiers spraying disinfectant at a railway station in Colombo.

Sri Lankan government soldiers spraying disinfectant at a railway station in Colombo.

Sri Lanka’s general elections, which was scheduled to be held on April 25, have been postponed in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

It was not possible to hold polls amid the coronavirus crisis, Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka told media persons on Thursday, when the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the island rose to 59.

A new date for the polls will be announced in the coming weeks, officials said. A public holiday has been in force in Sri Lanka this week and on Thursday, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a “work from home” week until March 27 for both, the public sector and the private sector. The measure, a statement from his office said, sought to prevent congregation of people.

The Tamil National Alliance, the main grouping of parties representing Tamils of the north and east, welcomed the Election Commission’s decision to postpone polls in light of the global pandemic that hit Sri Lanka last month. The TNA, along with several fellow opposition parties, had urged authorities to put of the elections to help the country focus on combating the viral disease.

Sri Lanka has suspended all international flight arrivals until the end of next week.

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