Sri Lanka may be on the brink of community transmission: PHI Union

ECONOMYNEXT – Though it’s difficult to say conclusively at present, Sri Lanka may be on the brink of community transmission of COVID-19, according to the Public Health Inspectors Union (PHI).

PHI Union President Upul Rohana told EconomyNext yesterday that this is possible looking at the number of people in various parts of the island that are testing positive for the virus.

“We cannot come to a conclusion yet about whether we’re at community transmission level without technical analysis, but we are finding more and more cases from other provinces. [Areas outside the Western Province] have seen a growth in the number of cases,” said Rohana.

More patients are being found in the community every day, numbering 600 to 650 and this number doesn’t seem to be going down, he added.

Rohana warned that this might worsen with the reopening of schools and public places. Health officials are already struggling to maintain health guidelines, he said.

“The government has decided to reopen the airports as well, for the tourists. We are in a bit of a difficult place trying to maintain the situation and control the spread of the virus,” he said.

Sri Lanka reopened the country for tourists yesterday and officials said the industry expects up to 3,500 tourist arrivals following a controversial pilot project that saw groups of Ukrainian tourists flown into the island. According to Rohana, the tourism ministry had not contacted the PHI union for any support in handling the tourists coming to the country.

“The pilot project did not operate well and they have not asked the PHI union for any additional support or supervision up until now,” he said. (Colombo/Jan22/2021)

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