ECONOMYNEXT –Sri Lanka’s former Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne has requested the government to use the currently unused Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre in Colombo to treat the country’s rapidly increasing COVID-19 patients, former Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said.
Speaking in Parliament today, Senaratne requested the government to not add beds for COVID-19 treatment to regular hospitals that provide tertiary care as there will be a risk of infection in those hospitals.
The seven-storey Millennium Ward Complex at the Colombo South Teaching Hospital in Kalubowila, the Helmut Kohl Maternity Hospital, a maternity teaching hospital in Galle and the Polonnaruwa Renal Treatment Hospital which has 250 beds can also be used for COVID-19 treatment, he said.
Referring a report from Prof Suneth Agampodi, who is Founding Professor and Department Chair (Community Medicine) Faculty of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, Senaratne said as a percentage of the population, Sri Lanka’s increasing daily cases are higher than those reported in India.
“The effective reproduction rate of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka is larger than in India. [Given] the difference in the population sizes and health infrastructure which is already on the verge of collapse, it will be a matter of time if we continue to ignore,” the opposition MP said quoting the report.
Senaratne further said that with the emergence of the so called third wave, Sri Lanka has seen an increase in COVID-19 patients among the youth and children.
“What’s unique about the new variant is that it is mostly asymptomatic but all of a sudden you will experience breathing difficulties. The basic and emergency treatment for this is oxygen. For this, there should be ICU beds with oxygen supply, or HDUs,” he said. (Colombo/May04/2021)
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story had incorrectly reported that the former minister had asked that the Colombo Lotus Tower be used to treat COVID-19 patients. We apologise for the error.