Sri Lanka says stern measures have been taken to diffuse myths and stigma over the coronavirus.
Dr Anil Jasinghe, Director General of the Sri Lanka Health Service and Chairman of the Executive Board of the World Health Organization said that Sri Lanka took early measures to prevent the virus from spreading in Sri Lanka.
“We started taking measures pretty early. However, we must give credit to China that they contained the virus within China as much as possible which paved the way for this disease to not spread all over the world. As I witnessed it, in his presentation the Director-General of the WHO pointed out that the spread of this virus out of China is not so significant. They were full of praise for the People’s Republic of China for their actions, their transparency and their technological brilliance in curbing this disease,” he said.
He said that at the very outset of the outbreak, there were certain stigmas attached to it and Sri Lankans reacted as anyone else would normally do without knowing what exactly the case was.
“But we took stern measures with regard to diffusing the myths and stigma on this disease. To be safe, you’ve to take certain measures, but you shouldn’t take myths or other unfound measures into consideration. We didn’t restrict the Chinese or anyone else for that matter, from visiting our country, but the Chinese government and maybe the others concerned imposed such warnings or restrictions. While monitoring in-bound passengers, we noted that usually we receive more than 1000 Chinese tourists on a daily basis, but it got reduced to an average of 40 during this period. This is a temporary phenomenon and I’m sure that similar to how we bounced back from this, the Chinese will also bounce back soon,” he said.
He said that in order to prevent the spread of the virus in Sri Lanka specific measures were taken such as to screen passengers arriving in Sri Lanka on Chinese flights and when the situation turned bad, they started screening every passenger.
“Apart from that, we issued brochures in Sinhala, English and Chinese to in-bound passengers, which had facts and safety measures on the outbreak, but it actually looks like a promotion because we had to be positive about this whole saga. That same method was used to give awareness to the common Sri Lankans as well, through local media. We’ve been given positive feedback enormously on how we tackled this issue,” he said.
Dr Anil Jasinghe also said that the only case reported in Sri Lanka has responded remarkably to the treatment and has recovered completely.
However he said they have still not discharged her due to some concerns on logistics and taking into account concerns among some locals. (Colombo Gazette)