Health guidelines grossly violated at shopping malls

By Easwaran Rutnam 

Health guidelines are being grossly violated during the last few days before Christmas and the New Year with some shopping malls in Colombo packed and public transport also accommodating passengers, more than the seating capacity. 

Both the Health Ministry and Public Health Inspectors (PHI) said that they are finding it difficult to ensure the public follow the health guidelines and Covid etiquette.

With last minute shopping underway in Colombo and other major cities, the public have been seen gathering in large numbers at some of the popular shopping malls, most just to hang out.

Public health inspectors said that they have been receiving numerous reports of people moving around at these public places without wearing face masks or maintaining social distancing.

PHI Union President Upul Rohana told Daily Mirror that they do not have the capacity to monitor every single area in order to take legal action.

He said that owners of shopping malls must ensure shoppers maintain social distancing and wear face masks.

Upul Rohana said that steps must also be taken to ensure there is no crowding at shopping malls.

“We have only a small staff so we cannot monitor every single area. But if we observe a violation of the Covid guidelines then we will take legal action,’ he said.

Upul Rohana also asserted that the Covid situation has already gone out of control claiming that the Government, health authorities and the public have seemingly given up on the fight against Covid.

He said that the number of people infected on a daily basis is far more than the actual numbers made public.

Deputy Director of Health Services, Dr. Hemantha Herath told Daily Mirror that the public must act with responsibility and not expect to be policed all the time.

He admitted that the PHI’s are not in a position to monitor every single public space and so the public need to ensure their own safety and the safety of others.

“More PHIs will be recruited over the next few days, yet they will not have enough in numbers to monitor every part of the country. So, it is the duty of the public to adhere to the guidelines,” he said.

He also said that institutions and public transport must ensure the health guidelines are strictly followed and that any violation is dealt with on the ground. (Courtesy Daily Mirror)