Controversy rages over PHI’s claims over Atalugama Covid infections

ECONOMYNEXT- Local residents in Atalugama are disputing claims by the Public Health Inspectors Union (PHIU) that they are not cooperating with the authorities with regard to Covid 19 prevention.

Union boss Upul Rohana told EconomyNext that more than 545 Covid 19 patients have been identified from the area now using random PCR testing and Rapid Antigen tests.

However, he complained that local residents are “not giving 100 per cent cooperation to us.”

He added that when Inspectors went prepared to carry out 400 PCR tests only 52 people showed up.

Local residents and community leaders in Atalugama are disputing Rohana’s claims.

Science Teacher N M Mohamed, an Atalugama resident told reporters that this claim is incorrect.

“In this area, more than 150 people were given PCR tests. However, the results did not come back even after a week.”

People who showed no symptoms did not isolate and went about doing their work, he told the Anidda Newspaper.

The area was isolated on November 21, with new cases were identified during random PCR testing. The population of this area is 20,000 in an area of 5 square kilometres.

Local Councilor Nasli Nafri said since December 1, around 600 PCR tests have been done.

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“There was a reluctance from people to come forward, but the Community Health Officer and others have done an outreach program and explained matters to the people. They have spoken in the mosques and now there is no resistance,” he said.

Unfortunately, the media is not reporting this, he added.

Read also -: Atalugama COVID-19 cases surge as PHIs withdraw in protest

Meanwhile, Rohana said the situation in Colombo area is not under control with more patients found in areas in Colombo district where no patients were identified earlier.

“Because the disease had spread from Colombo North, Mattakuliya areas to Narahenpita areas now. We cannot say it is fully under control yet,” Rohana said.

Sri Lanka’s health authorities identified four new COVID-19 cases at the Unity Plaza mall in Bambalapitiya yesterday, the country’s official pandemic task force announced.

The National Operation Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 (NOCPOC) said the four cases were identified after random PCR tests were carried out in the area. Authorities have temporarily shut down the mall and all staff will be subject to PCR tests.

He said a surge in different areas in other Districts can also be seen.

“There are mini-clusters throughout the country, such as in Galle, Kurunegala, Puttalam, Nuwara Eliya shows growth” Rohana said. (Colombo/ Dec 15/2020)

Reported by Chanka Jayasinghe

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  1. Health authorities need to create a self confidence in people, particularly Muslims. That should be the priority No1 of the authorities. People are not worried about death, that is certain aspect in life and everyone believes in that phenomena one day or other. What is bothering Muslims particularly is he fear of being cremated after death. Government and other authorities should immediately fall in line with the WHO guidelines and allow any community to have its own way of performing final rites. If burial of Muslim Covid-19 victims are allowed the problem relevant to the news will not arise. It is high time government thinks about this matter in a humanitarian manner without clinging on to mythical theories. The day it happens this problem of not facing PCR or Antigen tests by the people would vanish.

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