Atalugama becomes a hotspot after spitting incident

By Vyshnavy Velrajh

Atalugama in Bandaragama has become a hotspot as officials engaged in Covid related duties have refused to continue their services in the area.

The refusal comes after a Covid patient had spat on the face of a Public Health Inspector (PHI) when the latter had attempted to transfer him to a Covid treatment centre on Wednesday (02).

PHI Association Secretary M. Baalasooriya told Colombo Gazette that as a result, two PHI officers and a cab driver who were involved in the process of transferring the patient to hospital have been placed in self isolation as a precautionary measure.

The PHI Association has also received reports that the infected patient has violated quarantine orders and is reportedly roaming around Atalugama.

This incident has also delayed the process of transferring another 25 Covid patients, who were detected along with this patient, to Covid treatment facilities, he said.

Baalasooriya further said that the public in Atalugama have continuously failed to adhere to the advise of PHI and health officials, which is a key reason for the incident.

As a result, all PHI, health and Pradeshiya Sabha Division officials engaged in Covid related duties have decided not to enter Atalugama to perform their duties.

The PHI Secretary said the decision will stand until the residents of Atalugama cooperate with the relevant officials and ensure their safety when engaging in Covid related duties.

Pointing out that Atalugama is a high risk zone for the coronavirus, Baalasooriya said there is a possibility of more transmission and deaths as a high number of cases are being reported on a daily basis from the area.

The Court has instructed the Police to arrest the suspect who had spat on the PHI officer and transfer him to a Covid treatment facility.

Baalasooriya said until such measures are implemented PHI, health and Pradeshiya Sabha Division officials will not enter Atalugama.

He further said only following the arrest and admission of the suspect to a Covid treatment facility will they be able to continue Covid related duties with regard to the other 25 patients.

Meanwhile, the Bandaragama Police arrested and produced before Court the Covid patient who had spat on the face of a PHI officer in Atalugama.

The man who was arrested this morning was produced before the Panadura Court via Skype technology, which was also attended by the affected PHI officer and PHI officer in charge of Atalugama.

Police Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Ajith Rohana said the man was remanded till December 17 and will be transported to the Welikada Prison in Colombo.

DIG Rohana further said he has been remanded on charges of obstructing the duties of health officials and for violating the quarantine law. (Colombo Gazette)


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