08/17/2021, 10.07
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Colombo: Covid-19, health authorities ask citizens to self-isolate

by Melanie Manel Perera

In the new wave of the pandemic, Sri Lanka has become the fourth country in the world in terms of the number of deaths per million inhabitants. Many are in favor of a general lockdown, but the government is slow to impose it. Health authorities concerned about situation in hospitals. Christian Solidarity Movement: 'Day labourers cannot afford self-isolation'.



Colombo (AsiaNews) - The Sri Lankan government is slow to impose a general lockdown against Covid-19, despite the fact that the country has become the fourth largest in the world in terms of the number of deaths per million inhabitants after Georgia, Tunisia and Malaysia.

Health authorities yesterday asked the population to "practice self-isolation to save lives." Upul Rohana, who heads public health, urged all citizens to "voluntarily put in place restrictions on their travel to protect our families."

"We don't want to criticize the government, but we would like to invite the authorities to see how they work in hospitals, where we are forced to make decisions based on the pain of covid patients."

Yesterday, the country recorded 3,640 new cases and 167 deaths, bringing the total death toll to 6,263. There are currently more than 39,000 people infected with Covid-19.

Given the increase in infections, the government, led by Gotabaya Rajapaksa, has imposed a curfew from 10 pm to 4 am. According to citizens, this measure is more likely to curb "the nocturnal travel of owls and bats" than to bring down the number of new cases. In addition, from today, attendance at weddings is limited to the bride and groom, the parents of the couple and witnesses. Public opinion is in favor of a generalized lockdown and is surprised that the government has not yet taken concrete measures to limit the increase in new cases.

The government then pointed to vaccination as the only solution to the spread of the delta variant. According to official data, 54% of the population has been injected with a single dose and 21% have completed the vaccination cycle. 

Last week, deaths were up 48% from the previous week, while the positivity rate rose 30%. "We are in a situation where there are more than 150 deaths a day," said Manilka Sumanatilleke, vice president of the Sri Lanka Medical Association. "Whatever the government's decision is, as individuals we have to isolate ourselves." 

However, the Christian Solidarity Movement highlighted the problems with this choice: "If day laborers don't go to work, they don't get paid for that day. They have to go unless the government provides a minimum amount of food for each family. It's still fair that those who can afford to limit the frequency of their movements do."

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