In a move to suppress gathering anti government campaigns, protests and meeting Rajapaksa Government has gazetted new regulations on COVID-19 health guidelines pertaining to public gatherings and meetings under the Quarantine and Prevention of Diseases Ordinance (Chapter 222).
The Gazette was issued on 09 Nov. 2021.
The regulations state that the guidelines, circulars, directions, instructions or terms and conditions issued, given or specified by the Director General of Health Services (DGHS), the proper authority for the whole of Sri Lanka, shall supersede guidelines issued by any other proper authorities:
‘‘99. (1) The Proper Authority for the whole of Sri Lanka, may from time to time, determine the following, relating to a gathering, activity or event within or outside a deceased locality in relation to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID – 19) for a period determined by such proper Authority :-
(a) place of gathering, activity, event or similar place of meeting and, setting, structure or outline thereof ;
(b) the maximum number of persons or, allowable capacity or percentage of total capacity permitted to participate in such place of gathering, activity event or similar place of meeting.
(2) A person shall not allow or take part in any gathering, activity, event or similar place of meeting, in contravention of sub-regulation (1).
(3) Every determination made under sub-regulation (1) shall be published in, the official website of the Ministry of Health or Gazette.’’.
Full Gazette: Regulations made by Minister of Health 2253-10_E
According to the Gazette, the Director General of Health Services may determine the place, setting and structure of a gathering, activity, event or similar place of meeting and the maximum number of participants or allowable capacity within or outside a locality in relation to COVID-19 for a period determined by the DGHS.
Persons are not permitted to take part in any gathering, event, or similar place of meeting in contravention of this sub-regulation.
“We have not given approval for gatherings or meetings and our permission must be received to hold gatherings or meetings. People gathering can be a reason for COVID-19 spread and our sole effort is to prevent this,” DGHS Dr. Asela Gunawardena has said.
He added that approval will be given depending on the COVID-19 situation in the area as well as the country and that legal action can be taken against persons who do not adhere to these regulations.