By Easwaran Rutnam
Public health inspectors are expecting the coronavirus third wave to hit Sri Lanka in May after the general public grossly disregarded the health guidelines ahead of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.
The Public Health Inspectors (PHI) Association said that despite several warnings, most people were seen going about their day-to-day lives in public without strictly following the coronavirus health guidelines.
PHI Association Secretary Mahendra Balasuriya told Daily Mirror that the Mrs. Sri Lanka drama, the environment issue and the contaminated oil issue overshadowed the more serious issue linked to the coronavirus which was developing in the background.
He said that this resulted in the public also assuming that things were back to normal and the fear for the coronavirus dying a natural death.
“It will be difficult to instill that fear in the public once again,” he said.
Balasuriya noted that the public have been going about their normal activities ahead of the New Year, be it while shopping or in public transport and at public events, without even following the basic coronavirus health guidelines.
“This is very unfortunate. They will understand how serious this is only when the third wave hits us. We have been warning about this. Now it is too late. We will need to suffer the consequences and deal with it,” he said.
Balasuriya said that the authorities must now prepare hospitals and other facilities to deal with the expected rapid rise in coronavirus infected people and emergence of new clusters from May.
He said that if PCR tests are carried out effectively the results will show a rise in infections from May.
Balasuriya said that the public and the health authorities will need to take the responsibility for what to expect after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.
The PHI Association also noted that people assume that since they are vaccinated, they are 100 percent safe.
He said that situations in other countries show that despite most people being vaccinated there have been third and fourth waves resulting in fresh lockdowns being enforced.