It is the highest number reported on a single day so far.

Since last weekend, Colombo and neighbouring districts are under complete lockdown, while authorities have restricted inter-district travel.   | Photo Credit: AFP

It is the highest number reported on a single day so far.

Sri Lanka on Thursday reported five Covid-19 deaths -- the highest number reported on a single day so far -- a month after a new wave broke out at a garment factory near Colombo.

The new wave, spreading rapidly since early October, prompted the government to declare a 10-day curfew in the Western Province, where capital Colombo is located, and the highest concentration of cases have been found. Since last weekend, Colombo and neighbouring districts are under complete lockdown, while authorities have restricted inter-district travel.

Further, a total of 84,000 persons across the island, who were found to have come in contact with Covid-19 patients, have been directed to remain in self-quarantine, a statement from the President’s office said. With a sharp rise in cases over the past few weeks, a total of 12,400 positive patients, 6,623 recoveries and 29 deaths have been reported as of Thursday.

Government authorities have indicated that the lockdown may not continue, amid President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s instructions to keep the economy running, especially in the interest of daily-waged workers, while strict safety measures are implemented.

Sri Lanka’s second wave, now attributed to two live clusters, came months after health authorities effectively contained the spread of the virus, receiving praise including from the World Health Organization. Meanwhile, thousands of Sri Lankan workers remain stranded abroad, mostly in West Asian countries where they are employed, as the government as suspended repatriation flights in the wake of the recent outbreak.