Public should adhere to new health guidelines - Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle | Sunday Observer
Restrict all parties, meetings and other social gatherings

Public should adhere to new health guidelines - Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle

25 April, 2021

State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and Covid-19 Disease Control Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle said the Government has not taken a decision to go for a lockdown but called upon the public to strictly adhere to new health guidelines and restrict their movements.

Right now, there is no indication to go for a total lockdown but it would be more appropriate at least to restrict all parties, meetings and other social gatherings as the number of Covid-19 cases is increasing rapidly. According to the current epidemiological situation after the New Year, some restrictions need to be imposed to reduce the risk of transmission, the State Minister told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

She said the State Ministry of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and Covid-19 Disease Control has issued guidelines until May 31 specifying the minimum number that could be permitted to take part in public activities. We have to take precautionary measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, she said.

The State Minister said, “We request people to strictly adhere to the new guidelines until May 31. Thereafter, we can review and relax them. We imposed strict guidelines at the onset of the Covid-19 but thereafter we reviewed and relaxed them when the number of cases dropped.

Therefore, we expect people to give their fullest cooperation until May 31 by refraining from organising and attending events which will have large gatherings. “

State Minister Fernandopulle told the Task Force meeting on Friday (April 23) that they proposed to restrict inter-provincial movements at least during long weekends and also to close schools for a month as still Covid-19 clusters are emerging here and there.

However, that was just only a suggestion and it was not approved considering the difficulties faced by the people. The Government will have to reconsider whether the schools will have to be closed or not in keeping with the ongoing situation.

She said perhaps it may pave the way to increase the number of Covid-19 cases as the public disregarded the health guidelines during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.

In addition, the variant that is spreading now may infect more people. Even Prof. Neelika Malavige, Head of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura said that they have detected a new virus trend from the random samples that they have tested. That could also be a reason why the present trend has become very infectious.

Public transport is only permitted to transport seated passengers under the new health guidelines issued.

Private taxi services should limit the maximum number of passengers to two for cars and trishaws. For other types of vehicles, it is limited to transport seated passengers only.

Government and private sector offices have been asked to function with a minimum number of staff required and others to work from home where feasible.

The schools, pre-schools and day care centres have been asked to adhere to 50 percent of the capacity while higher education centres including universities have been closed.

Tuition classes are not permitted and weddings can be held with a maximum of 150 guests adhering to the given instructions. In addition, indoor and outdoor parties, events and other public gatherings are not permitted.