Cinemas, children’s play areas, swimming pools, pubs and bars, casinos and nightclubs, betting centers and spas will remain closed until further notice.

Sri Lanka’s health authorities have issued tough new guidelines, including banning wedding receptions and gatherings at religious sites, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as the island nation continues to record a spike in daily infections .

For the fifth Friday, the daily number of reported cases crossed the 1,000 mark.

The country has recorded several cases of the UK variant which has a higher death rate, health officials have said.

“We continue to monitor and place isolates in critical areas,” said Army chief Gen. Shavendra Silva, COVID prevention officer.

He said the government was reluctant to order general lockdowns due to possible negative economic impacts.

Under the new guidelines, wedding receptions will not be permitted until May 21. No gatherings are allowed on religious sites.

Public events and gatherings held in closed and open places are prohibited until further notice.

Cinemas, children’s play areas, swimming pools, pubs and bars, casinos and nightclubs, betting centers and spas will remain closed until further notice.

Businesses will be allowed to operate with a capacity of only 25 percent.

Schools will remain closed until further notice.

Sri Lanka reported 1,716 new cases on Friday, the highest peak in one day since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

The country has so far reported 109,000 cases with 687 deaths.

.