09/17/2020, 12.22
SRI LANKA
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Concern is growing over the rising number of positive cases

by Melani Manel Perera

The authorities are evaluating whether to reimpose stricter health prevention measures. Participation in large-scale events, like the Colombo International Book Fair, is not recommended. For epidemiologist, there are too many risks, and senior citizens should stay at home. Cases imported from abroad are increasing. The government is considering reducing in-coming flights to one a day.

 

Colombo (Asia News) – Concern is growing over the rising number of SARS-CoV-2 cases, the cause of COVID-19, with the authorities evaluating the possibility of reimposing some health prevention measures.

According to the World Health Organisation, Sri Lanka has reported so far 3,271 cases with 13 deaths. More than 250,000 people have bee tested, and more than 41,000 people have returned home after a period of quarantine.

The Ministry of Health's Epidemiology Unit has warned that anyone planning to visit the Colombo International Book Fair tomorrow at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall will have to comply with strict guidelines, wearing masks and maintaining physical distance. This also applies to all large-scale gatherings.

For epidemiologist Sudath Samarweera, such measures are not enough. In his view, public participation in large-scale events should be prohibited.

"Due to the large number of people present, if an infected individual enters the premises of the fair it will be difficult to trace the people he came into contact with," he said.

Large gatherings are in fact a problem. For example, distancing rules tend to be ignored in public transit, Samaraweera notes.

For senior citizens and people with pre-existing medical conditions, this constitutes a great risk.

According to Samaraweera, individuals of a certain age should stay at home and only go out if necessary.

The greatest danger seems to come from overseas Sri Lankans who return home.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his brother, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, want to repatriate Sri Lankans trapped abroad.

However, the National Operation Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) has warned of a rising number of imported positive cases: 39 last Sunday, 28 on Monday.

To address the problem, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Commander of the Army, said that the government is considering limiting the number of incoming flights to one a day.

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