Friday, 17 July 2020 07:45

MR dismisses second wave of COVID-19 infections

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday dismissed fears of a second wave of COVID-19 infections sweeping the country, attributing them to statements made at party rallies to gain political mileage during the Parliamentary Election campaign.

Rajapaksa, meeting with the editors of newspapers and other media houses at Temple Trees, emphasised that there was no second wave and that the health officials had all agreed on this point. He acknowledged the emergence of the Kandakadu Rehabilitation Centre, but stressed that all efforts had already been made to identify, isolate, and treat anyone who has tested positive for the virus.

“This second wave only stems from waves created on political stages during the election campaign. Nowhere else in society is there evidence of this second wave. These are clearly statements made to whip up the public, and make them doubt the work that is being done by the Government. For months now, the public health officials, the military, and other public sector workers have been working tirelessly to control the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, and these efforts are still continuing,” Rajapaksa told the editors.

The meeting was organised to present more details on the spread of COVID-19 to media, and prevent the spread of miscommunication and false reports.

Even though COVID-19 patients had been found from new places, they and those they had come into contact with have been traced, isolated, and treated successfully, the Prime Minister assured. Rajapaksa emphasised that the public should not give into rumours and have unfounded fears of undetected infectors, because responsible parties have already tackled any threat emerging from the Kandakadu cluster.

“These efforts will continue without any disruptions, and every measure needed to keep the public safe will be taken. We are fully aware of how serious this situation is, and the full attention of the Government is on this issue,” he said.

Director General of Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe reiterated that given the swift action taken by the Government and health authorities, there was no need to initiate another countrywide curfew or lockdown. He insisted that any outbreaks could be handled by imposing limited or regional lockdowns to restrict public movement. He also referred to the restrictions placed in Rajanganaya as an example.

“We have isolated about 12,000 people in Rajanganaya to control the spread of COVID-19, and many of these people are being subjected to PCR tests in stages. Already 395 people have tested negative. To date, about 130,000 PCR tests have been conducted countrywide, and the Government has the capacity to increase testing to about 4,000 per day if needed,” he assured.

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, also speaking at the event, said that the health guidelines needed for the Parliamentary Election will be gazetted within the next two days.

(FT)

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