07/11/2020, 13.35
SRI LANKA
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Concern over the possible resurgence of COVID-19

by Melani Manel Perera

The Sri Lanka Medical Association criticised the lifting of restrictions on public gatherings, uncontrolled public transport, the opening of recreational activities, and many other questionable activities. So far, 2,454 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the country. Yesterday saw the highest number of infections in a single day with 300 new cases.

Colombo (Asia News) – Yesterday, the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) said it was gravely concerned about the current COVID-19 situation in the country, pointing out that the necessary measures to control the spread of the disease are being blatantly disregarded.

The head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOVPCO) clarified the details pertaining to the latest situation following the detection of a new cluster of coronavirus cases.

As of this morning, 2,454 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the country with yesterday recording 300 new cases, the highest number of infections in a single day.

According to the SLMA, "Sri Lanka as a country has managed to successfully control the spread of COVID 19 with a technically correct approach and prompt measures in the initial stage.

“This is something that we can be proud of and the country and the population should be grateful to the government for the excellent handling of the situation up to the present time. In fact, Sri Lanka's approach of ‘Trace, Test, Treat’ has been the envy of the world in that respect.”

However, the SLMA went on to say that “We are of the view that key measures are not adequately applied and monitored at present, thereby increasing the vulnerability of the country to a resurgence of COVID 19.

“It is now clearly observed that the country is shifting back to the behaviour of the pre-COVID era. It is tremendously disheartening to see that what was achieved by a massive campaign to take the country to a new normal situation is being reversed."

Unfortunately, the situation “seems to be complicated by some regressive set of steps that have been taken which could contribute towards dragging the entire country towards the catastrophic status that is akin to that faced by many other nations the world over.

“Over relaxing of restriction for public gatherings, operation of uncontrolled public transport, widespread opening of recreational activities and many other questionable manoeuvres have probably paved the way to change the mind-set of the people to abandon the very necessary control measures.

“Keeping the much-needed physical distancing, frequent hand washing, etc, are largely disappearing; thereby increasing the risk of viral spread in the community. Even proper wearing of masks in public places is not strictly adhered to.

“The disappearance of those healthy behaviours seems to be largely due to fast relaxation of control measures, indicating that the risk of COVID 19 is no more. This false notion is extremely harmful and it will be hard to revert back to healthy behaviours in the case of a resurgence of cases."

"We need to be alerted by the increasing caseload of neighbouring countries and an unprecedented resurgence of cases in countries which earlier claimed to have controlled the pandemic. We need to learn very important lessons from what has happened in the very recent past.

“Therefore, the SLMA is appealing to the government to enhance the campaign to strengthen the behaviour towards the new normal, through the continuation of strict application of control measures and making it a mandatory requirement on the part of the general public to conform to the advice provided by the health professionals who are conversant on the subject."

Meanwhile, the head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO), Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva (picture 2), yesterday provided details about the latest developments, following the detection of new clusters of coronavirus cases.

Lt Gen Silva said that about 375 people were tested yesterday and the day before out of 1,150 inmates and staff members at two drug rehab facilities in Kandakadu and Singapura, Polonnaruwa district.

“When comparing with the results received thus far, it is most likely that even more COVID-19 infected persons will be identified," Lt Gen Silva said. 

The remaining test results will be released later. In the meantime, all the necessary steps have been taken to control the situation in these two rehabilitation facilities.

Some sections of the public “were disturbed by unconfirmed reports stating that the curfew would be re-imposed and the country would return to lockdown,” Lt Gen Silva explained.

“The public should not be misled by unconfirmed and misleading comments and reports. Only official notices issued by the Presidential Secretariat or Government Information Department” should be heeded.

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