Colombo, Dec 21 (EFE).- The certificate of vaccination against Covid-19 would be mandatory from Jan. 1, 2022 to access public places in Sri Lanka, the authorities announced today in a move aimed at speeding up inoculation and tackleing the threat of the Omicron variant.
“Beginning 1st January 2022, #COVID19SL vaccination cards will be made mandatory to access public spaces in Sri Lanka,” Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella tweeted on Tuesday.
He also urged the population to get vaccinated and respect measure to check the spread of the virus.
The decision comes after an intense debate in the country over whether it was correct to make the vaccination certificate mandatory to go to public spaces.
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had already issued a statement earlier this month stating that the certificate would be made compulsory in public spaces, without specifying the date when the measure would come into effect.
However, despite the proximity of the deadline announced on Tuesday, several sources in the health department told EFE that they had not been informed of the new order.
So far, 15 million or 70 percent of the 22 million residents of the island have been fully vaccinated against the disease.
Meanwhile, the authorities have so far detected four cases of the Omicron variant since the first infection was reported on Dec. 3, found in the sample of a Sri Lankan citizen who had returned from South Africa.
On Oct. 1, Sri Lanka had lifted most of the restrictions to keep the virus in check, although the mandatory use of masks and social distancing measures in public remained in place.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the country has reported more than 580,000 cases of coronavirus, while 14,771 people have died of the disease so far, according to data released by the Health Promotion Bureau.
Authorities reported 524 fresh infections and 19 deaths within the past 24 hours. EFE