07/31/2021, 12.05
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Colombo: Rajapaksa orders end to smart-working for civil servants

by Melani Manel Perera

Public offices reopen from 2 August. Controversial decision: since early July, Covid-19 infections have doubled in the country. The civil service is divided over the decision. The president justifies it with the fact that most employees have completed vaccinations.



Colombo (AsiaNews) - As of August 2 all Sri Lankan civil servants will have to return to working in their respective offices. The order was issued late yesterday by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The Head of State justified the decision on the grounds that most government staff had completed the Covid-19 vaccination.

Public opinion is divided on whether to put an end to smart-working in the civil service. For the first time since 23 June, more than 2,000 infections were recorded in the country yesterday. Since the beginning of July, the number of cases has doubled; the surge in infections is due to the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

Overall, since the beginning of the pandemic, Sri Lanka has had more than 306,000 people infected, 70,000 of them in the Colombo district, where most government offices are located. Yesterday, 56 more people died of the lung disease, bringing the total to 4,380.

Speaking to AsiaNews, some civil servants support Rajapaksa's decision: "It is a right and timely move, since most of the population has been vaccinated". One of them, Anton Perera from the town of Jaela, says it is now the responsibility of people to comply with health rules to protect themselves. "Continuing with the lockdown," he adds, "would be difficult because it would create many more problems.

Many of Anton's colleagues say the opposite is true. They point out that many have not received the vaccine. In their opinion, the opening of public offices, combined with the lack of vaccination coverage, will increase the number of infections.

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