By Vyshnavy Velrajh
Health authorities have played down concerns over the spread of the coronavirus within the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) city limits, stating that they are confident the situation will improve in the near future.
Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Sudath Samaraweera told Colombo Gazette that there was a reduction in the spread of the virus in Colombo at present.
“We are heading towards that direction and can see a significant reduction in the spread of the coronavirus,” he said.
Dr. Samaraweera said Rapid Antigen Tests Kits are currently being used to detect new cases.
He said that there is a significant decrease in cases reported from hot spots within Colombo in comparison to earlier and that new cases being detected at present are relatively less.
The Chief Epidemiologist pointed out that the viral load of newly detected patients from Colombo is less, compared to that of which was detected during the initial stage of the outbreak in October.
He further said that if the containment measures are carried out and continued as planned, then the spread of the coronavirus can be further reduced and successfully contained within the Colombo Municipal Council city limits.
Meanwhile, Public Health Inspectors (PHI) Association Secretary M. Baalasooriya told Colombo Gazette that the situation in the CMC city limits is out of control as the PHI officers do not have sufficient time to complete duties in contrast to the high number of Covid cases being detected on a daily basis.
Baalasooriya said that they are unable to complete duties such as hospitalization of positive patients, contact tracing, PCR tests and quarantine process within 24 hours of the detection.
Various obstacles such as suspected patients hiding from PHI officers and some refusing to undergo PCR tests were causing PHI officers to waste valuable time.
He further said the conflict of interest over the cremation of Covid victims and actions of relatives in this regard was another major issue.
Despite a proper system being implemented for the detection and follow-up of Covid patients and associates, the PHI Association is calling on the Health Ministry to further strengthen the system.
Pointing out the lack of cooperation by the Public as a key reason for the situation to become out of control in Colombo, Baalasooriya called on both the public and religious leaders to extend their support in the battle to contain the coronavirus.
Colombo Mayor Rosy Senanayake too earlier warned that the situation in Colombo is serious with the Covid-19 death toll increasing and more people being infected.
Senanayake has appealed to retired Public Health Inspectors (PHI) to return to service and has also spoken to the Medical Faculty to obtain the services of interns to support the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC). (Colombo Gazette)