May 09, 2020

Relaxation could cause issues - WHO

Former Director of the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Nihal Abeysinghe, says the curfew relaxations planned by the government "could cause problems”.
He has said this speaking to BBC Sinhala Service.

Dr. Abeysinghe says that if there is a full release , it will not be possible to locate where the patients are.

"When you say only the public or private sector employees can go in the buses after relaxing curfew ,the general public will not understand that. If there is no curfew ordinary people will start traveling.When the passengers are getting into a bus they cannot be selected. If attempted it could create fights which will be problematic in future", he added.

He pointed out that  restrictions should be relaxed after following a proper strategy.

"First, the government scared people and kept them in houses. Now they say they are restoring normal way of life. This is a problematic situation for people," said Dr. Nihal Abeysinghe.

Opinion of the GMOA

The Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) is of the view that the health sector will need to be strengthened to cope with it as there is a chance of  increase in the number of patients.

GMOA Executive Committee member Dr. Naveen De Zoysa says that the GMOA is of the view that the number of daily checkups should be increased to 2500.

GMOA estimates that the average daily routine checkups in Sri Lanka is about  1,200.

"Coronavirus control has been successful in Sri Lanka, but it appears that the  navy cluster is still active. If these restrictions are relaxed, the number of patients might increase.Therefore the number of daily checkups and hospital activities should be increased.Steps should be taken to maintain the patient count below the maximum capacity, "Dr. Naveen De Zoysa says.

Meanwhile, Dr. Paba Palihawadana the Deputy Director General of Public Health Services, Ministry of Health, says that "the restriction will not be fully relaxed and about 5 areas in Colombo district have been identified as high risk areas".

However, Dr. Paba Palihawadana stated that if the patients are reported after the travel restrictions are relaxed they will reimplement the restrictions for those areas.

"Relaxation of restriction could re-ignite infection" - WHO

In late April, Director General of World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that the disease "will be with us for a long time," if its seriousness is ignored after being satisfied by the current process battling it.

He said that lifting lockdowns could cause infections to "reignite".