COLOMBO, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's Health Minister, Pavithra Wanniarachchi has signed a special gazette notification on the implementation of COVID-19 precautions, including wearing face masks, maintaining social distance and hand hygiene as the country has been facing a rise in new COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, local media reported here Friday.
Wanniarachchi signed the gazette on Thursday evening, which laid down several COVID-19 guidelines and urged people to restrict movements.
According to the new law, local courts can punish offenders with a fine of up to 10,000 Sri Lankan Rupees (about 55 U.S. dollars) and/or six months imprisonment.
The Minister further said that laws on the restriction of movement, quarantine and transport have also been strengthened in the gazette.
In a statement, the health ministry said that all persons who enter a place of business or employment will be required to wear a face mask and a two-meter distance must be maintained between people.
All persons entering a place of employment must have their temperature checked and have their information, including name, contact number and National Identity Card number entered into a log. Sufficient hand hygiene facilities with disinfectant must also be provided, the statement said.
The Health Ministry added that workplaces will be required to operate within limitations put on the number of employees and visitors allowed into the premises.
"The government considers it a responsibility to safeguard the health of the country's people and as such has decided to pass certain safety guidelines provided by the Health Ministry as legislation," the minister said.
Sri Lanka has seen a surge in new COVID-19 patients following the detection of a new COVID-19 cluster in Minuwangoda, in the outskirts of capital Colombo on Oct. 4.
According to the health ministry's statistics, a total of 1,789 patients has been detected in recent days while Sri Lanka's total COVID-19 patients have reached 5,244 till Friday afternoon.
A total of 3,385 patients have recovered and been discharged while 13 deaths have been reported. Enditem