At least 3,700 persons were arrested on charges of violating the islandwide police curfew currently in effect in Sri Lanka as a preventive measure against the coronavirus pandemic, according to the senior officer on Thursday.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Ajith Rohana told Colombo Gazette that the 3,700 individuals were arrested in the early hours of the day.

A total of 702 vehicles, including motorcycles and three-wheelers were also seized by the police, he further added.

On Friday, the Sri Lankan government had announced a nationwide curfew until March 23 as a preventive measure against the coronavirus pandemic.

The country has reported 102 confirmed coronavirus cases so far.

On Wednesday, Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has called on the citizens of the country to temporarily halt travel, public gatherings or celebrations as this would enable the government to completely control the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Rajapaksa said a large number of Sri Lankans had returned to the country in recent days from virus-hit nations including Italy and authorities had identified all of them as well as their closest relatives and had asked them to be self quarantined in their own homes.

The announcement comes after the National Election Commission on Thursday postponed the country’s parliamentary polls which were scheduled to be held on April 25 until further notice.

Over 3,200 people have died and around 81,000 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus in China so far.

With businesses hampered due to the outbreak of the pandemic, President Rajapaksa also unveiled relief packages such as offering lentils and canned fish at subsidized rates, and ordered banks and finance companies to allow a recovery period of six months for the loan facilities taken by businesses.

he number of deaths around the world from the novel Coronavirus cases is slated to have crossed 19,000.