Sri Lanka delays general election for second time, sets Aug. 5 as new date

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka will hold its general election on Aug. 5, the head of the nation’s election commission said at a news briefing on Wednesday, delaying the parliamentary vote for a second time as the country continues to attempt to rein in the coronavirus pandemic.

“The parliamentary elections that was due on June 20, will be held on Aug. 5,” Mahinda Deshapriya, chairman of Sri Lanka’s Elections Commission, told reporters.

The election had originally been scheduled for April 26, but was postponed due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus. Sri Lanka has reported 1,859 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths so far from the disease caused by the virus. The nation sealed its borders and imposed a nationwide lockdown, along with a curfew in certain areas to rein in the spread of the virus.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had dissolved parliament in early March. However, the nation into a 52-day lockdown soon after that, as South Asian countries escalated efforts to check the spread of the coronavirus across the densely populated region of 1.9 billion people.

Reporting by Waruna Karunatilake; Writing by Neha Arora; Editing by Bernadette Baum