Thirteen  new COVID-19 patients were confirmed today bringing the total number of cases in the country to 323  as the Heath authorities put more restrictions in place closing all barber shops and salons and limiting the number  of passengers travelling in taxis  and three wheelers.

The decision to close barber shops and salons came after  a barber from the Bandaranayakapura area was confirmed as COVID -19 positive today.

Police also introduced new  safety measures to be adopted   by vendors who provide  mobile services to the public making it mandatory for them to wear masks and gloves while selling goods.

The new measures were introduced after the country recorded a steep rise in the number of cases  with close to 50 new cases detected in the last two days.

Director General of Health Services (DGHS)  Dr.Anil Jasinghe said  of the  13 new patients identified today, 11  were from the Punani quarantine center and they were sent to the Kathankudy Medical facility which has been set up  to treat   persons infected with the coronavirus. The other confirmed patient was under treatment at the Polonnaruwa Hospital.

The other patient is from Suduwella, Ja-Ela who was at the Oluvil, quarantine centre.

Dr. Jasinghe said that the Health authorities have increased the number of PCR tests being carried out taking  samples of 530 person from  the Peliyagoda  Fish Market today  after a fish vendor man who had visited  there was confirmed as COVID-19 positive on Tuesday.

The fish vendor is a resident of  Piliyandala

Sixty-two others from  a private nursing home in the Pannipitiya area  who were believed  exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 patient were tested and their tests have come came back negative, Dr. Jasinghe said.

More samples were also taken today  from residents the  Bandaranayakapura  area in Colombo -12 from where hundreds have been sent to quarantine centers and others placed under strict  lockdown.

Dr.Jasinghe said that while the curfew has been relaxed in some areas, it  is vital that people follow social distancing and  make sure they practice personal hygiene at the highest level.