COLOMBO, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- An estimated 40 percent voter turnout was recorded in Sri Lanka's parliamentary elections by noon on Wednesday after voting began at 7 a.m. local time, the government information department said.
In several districts a little over 40 percent voter turnout was recorded with the highest turnout reported from the central highlands of Nuwera Eliya at 48 percent, followed by Matale in the south at 46 percent.
The capital Colombo recorded a 34-percent turnout by noon.
Voting for the parliamentary polls will end at 5:00 p.m. local time.
The Elections Commission said an estimated 16.2 million people are eligible to vote in Wednesday's polls which will elect a new 225-member parliament.
Over 12,000 polling booths have been set up across the country, while 69,000 police officers have been deployed nationwide.
In addition 8,000 health sector employees have also been deployed in all polling booths as strict health guidelines are in place due to a COVID-19 outbreak which has to date infected over 2,800 people.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa arrived in Mirihana in Colombo to cast his vote Wednesday morning while Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa voted in Hambantota in the south and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe cast his vote in Colombo.
Several other political leaders also arrived at their respective polling booths across the country to cast their ballots.
Face masks were made mandatory for all voters and officers on duty, while hand hygiene was also maintained. Voters were also encouraged to bring their own pens in black or blue color to mark their votes.