COLOMBO, May 12 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lankan authorities on Wednesday declared that strict islandwide travel restrictions will be imposed in efforts to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from spreading further in the Asian country.

Army Commander and head of the National Operations Center for the Prevention of COVID-19, General Shavendra Silva told Xinhua that the countrywide travel restrictions will come into effect from May 13 to 31.

According to Silva, the restrictions' implementation is divided into two phases, with the first phase starting from 11:00 p.m. on Thursday to 04:00 a.m. on Monday, followed by a daily curfew from 11:00 p.m. to 04:00 a.m. until May 31.

Silva said that during this period, people will not be allowed to leave their home and all businesses including restaurants will shut down, adding that only medical workers and workers involved in the essential services such as food trucks can travel.

The latest decision came amid a rapid spread of the virus in the country, which has reported over 131,000 confirmed cases with 850 deaths.