Coronavirus in Sri Lanka: Thousands arrested for violating curfew

COLOMBO, March 18, 2020 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka Air force personnel put on protective equipment before disinfection operation in front of the Fort Railway Station in Colombo, Sri Lanka, March 18, 2020. Sri Lanka has so far confirmed 43 positive COVID-19 patients while 200 more are under observation. (Photo by Gayan Sameera/Xinhua/IANS)
Sri Lanka police say they have arrested thousands, including many who were praying in a mosque, for violating a countrywide curfew imposed as a part of stringent measures designed to contain the spread of coronavirus. The number of positive cases has risen to 106 and the government has ordered police to strictly impose the curfew to ensure social distancing across the country.

On a tip that a group of people were praying in a mosque in the town of Horowpathana, about 124 miles (200 kilometers) north of Capital Colombo, police and health officials went to the mosque and arrested 18 while several dozens have fled.

The government has banned nonessential travel. Police have arrested 4,600 and seized 1,125 vehicles for violating curfew since March 20.