Sri Lanka shuts parliament after coronavirus case detected

Parliament closed for two days after a police officer at the complex tests positive for the virus amid a new surge of cases in the country.

Sri Lankan police officers wearing protective gear stand near the parliament during a protest against a proposed constitutional amendment [Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters]

Sri Lanka’s parliament has been closed after a police officer at the complex tested positive for the coronavirus amid a new surge of cases in the country.

Parliament will be closed for two days as a precautionary measure so the premises can be disinfected, said Narendra Fernando, the parliament’s sergeant at arms.

Close associates of the officer were also tested, with the results expected later on Monday. An additional 22 parliament staffers will be tested on Tuesday, Fernando said.

Sri Lanka has seen a new outbreak of the virus since early this month when a new cluster emerged, centred at a garment factory near Colombo, the capital.

On Monday, 351 new cases were confirmed in the Indian Ocean island nation.

Most of the new infections are related to the garment factory cluster, which has grown to 4,400 cases, more than half the country’s total of 7,872.

One death was reported on Sunday, raising Sri Lanka’s death toll to 16.

In a bid to contain the spread, the government has imposed curfews in many parts of the densely populated Western province, where the garment factory and Colombo are located, and where most new cases have been detected.

The government also has closed schools, banned gatherings and imposed restrictions on public transport across the entire country.

Source: AP