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Covid Task Force urges the public not to relax their guard against the virus

Economynext – The authorities are warning the public not to relax their guard against the Covid 19 virus saying the risk of infection remains even though there is no evidence of community transmission of the disease, in Sri Lanka an official statement said.

The five new cases of Covid diagnosed in the past 24-hours are all foreign returnees to Sri Lanka, but the authorities are still cautioning against the holding of public events without adherence to guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.

At a meeting held at the National Operational Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) yesterday, officials discussed several on-coming public events, a statement released by the centre said.

The meeting chaired by NOCPCO head and Army Chief Lt Gen Shavendra Silva the officials “assessed the status quo, re-visited the updates, possible new clusters and looked at the overall picture of the epidemic in the country,” it said.

Silva warned organizers of public events to be alert to strict health guidelines although they have obtained permission to hold them.

“It is true that we don’t have any infected cases in society but we must remember that there are infected persons still in hospitals after they were confirmed positive by PCR tests while in quarantine,” the General said.

He added that there is a risk that the virus can still be transmitted from those in hospital.

“So keep those health precautions intact and help eradicate the threat,” he said.

The session, which was attended by the Acting Director-General of Health Services Dr S. Shridharan and other experts, and held at the Rajagiriya headquarters, discussed two specific events which are likely to attract large crowds.

The first is the annual book-fair which usually has tens of thousands of shoppers crowded together looking for bargains and the other is the proposed tour of Sri Lanka by the Bangladeshi Cricket team. The meeting decided to lay down precautions to be taken at the book-fair to avoid risks, the statement added.





The Task Force also decided to have another meeting with Sri Lanka Cricket to finalize arrangements for the Bangladeshi tour and the Premier League Cricket tournament.

The meeting also discussed the status of the process of repatriating Sri Lankans overseas who wish to return. It also sought to find ways to “decrease unwanted costs and benefits, being levied by brokers from passengers.”

Further, a tourism promotion strategy with the onset of the winter season in Russia was also discussed.

The experts stressed the importance of subjecting tourists to PCR tests on arrival groups undergoing 14-day self-quarantine and a repeated PCR test.

The meeting also discussed strategies to evaluate vaccines that may become available in the future. (Colombo, September 19, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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