GMOA warns of unusually high COVID-19 deaths as Sri Lanka faces imminent community spread

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is on the verge of community transmission of COVID-19 and any neglect on the part of the government could lead to disastrous consequences including unusually high deaths, the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) warned today.

“There is a seriously risky situation emerging in the country. Managing the present situation in order to prevent community transmission is the main challenge we are now faced with,” GMOA General Secretary Dr Haritha Aluthge told reporters this morning.

Noting that Sri Lanka saw three COVID-related deaths within a few short days, Aluthge said the situation can turn dire if community transmission is not prevented.

If, going forward, Sri Lanka continues its present course of action, managing the pandemic will prove prohibitively difficult, he warned.

“What this means that if we don’t make the right decisions today, we can expect an unusually high number of deaths over the next two months,” he said.

Aluthge further said a decision promised by the authorities on district borders has yet to be made.

“Delaying such decisions could lead to severe consequences for the country,” he said.

Meanwhile, Acting Deputy Director General, Public Health Services, Dr Hemantha Herath said the Minuwangoda cluster, Sri Lanka’s single largest COVID-19 cluster yet, will not likely subside for another six to eight weeks.

“The spreading of the virus from this cluster can aggravate any time. We have seen that the attention paid to the Gampaha district has now diminished. That is not a good thing,” he told reporters.

Herath said the disease can be severe for the elderly and the sick, and asked members of the public to take adequate precautions to prevent further spread.

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“The health ministry has identified several positive patients. More than 4,000 patients are receiving treatment at hospitals currently and we have observed that this virus is capable of causing several complications that are likely to claim a person’s life,” said Herath.

Sri Lankan health officials identified 351 new COVID-19 patients over a 24-hour period that ended at 6am today (26), the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 (NOCPOC) said.

With the new cases, total confirmed COVID-19 patients in the island has risen to 7,872. Some 537 individuals are currently under investigation in hospitals, with 4,053 active cases. (Colombo/Oct26/2020)

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