Sri Lankan police arrest face mask violators

Sri Lankan municipal workers wait as they prepare to cremate a body of a COVID-19 victim at a cemetery in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. Sri Lanka on Friday approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 amid warnings from doctors that front-line health workers should be quickly inoculated to stop the system from collapsing.

Sri Lankan police are arresting people who fail to wear face masks and maintain social distancing in public places, as the number of COVID-19 patients rapidly increases due to a new more transmissible variant.

Police have arrested 177 people in the past 24 hours for violating the regulations, police spokesman Ajith Rohana said Monday.

Under quarantine laws, violators can face a fine of LKR 10,000 ($54), six months’ imprisonment or both.

Health officials have warned that a fast-spreading variant has been detected in Sri Lanka.

For several weeks, the number of confirmed new cases was less than 300 every day, but the figure rose to 793 on Monday.

Sri Lanka has recorded a total of 100,586 cases including 642 fatalities.

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