Chief Epidemiologist warns of Covid-19 threat | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Chief Epidemiologist warns of Covid-19 threat

4 October, 2020
Dr Sudath Samaraweera
Dr Sudath Samaraweera

Sri Lanka is still at risk of being affected by Covid-19 due to human errors in Covid-19 management and as a result of neighbouring India having the world’s second-largest number of Covid-19 patients, Chief Epidemiologist Dr Sudath Samaraweera said.

Dr Samaraweera told the media at the Health Promotion Bureau last week, that “Sri Lanka was spared due to strict observance of the Covid-19 guidelines and regulations, but now people have forgotten everything.”

A recent report issued by China ranked Sri Lanka as the best country after China in managing the spread of the virus. The last Covid-19 patient from among the community in Sri Lanka, was reported on August 2, more than three months ago.

However, the Chief Epidemiologist was concerned about the possibility of getting Covid-19 through illegal immigrants from India. “We have seen illegal immigrants from India for many years. We have to be attentive about the matter more than ever as India has over 6 million Covid-19 patients,” he said.

He cautioned about the illegal goods trafficking in the Indo-Sri Lanka waters which could open doors to Covid-19 from India. “Defeating Covid-19 cannot be achieved by imposing laws. We cannot control the virus by imposing fines or jailing people. The intervention of the public is essential to control the health hazard,” Dr Samaraweera said.

He said that human errors could lead to social transmission of Covid-19. “The recent incident in Matara is the best example. The staff of the quarantine centre in Matara where the Covid-19 infected Russian was staying, had violated quarantine laws and visited their homes. Such errors in the quarantine process could leak the virus to society. The Russian was later tested negative and no one was infected. “We request the people to limit their movements and social engagements,” Dr Samaraweera added.