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COVID-19 prevention measures likely till New Year end

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COVID-19 prevention measures likely till New Year end

Progress of ongoing prevention program reviewed
Govt. officials believe timely action kept epidemic under control
Procedures adopted helped correctly identify infected and compromised
Country still not out of danger
Program to continue to rely on expert advice
Regular and repeated tests to be done on infected and suspected

Stringent measures taken to counter the spread of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka is likely to continue until after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, with constant evaluation of the situation to continue with the support of medical, security and legal expertise, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said.

Headed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a discussion took place on Saturday at the Presidential Secretariat to review the progress of the COVID-19 prevention program and to decide on the steps needed to take this program forward.

Government Medical Officers’ Association President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya analysed the manner in which this virus had affected the country geographically and Government actions to control the spread.

During the discussion it was noted that the Government’s timely actions from when this virus first entered the country had helped keep the situation under control.

It was also noted at the discussion that the steps adopted henceforth had helped officials to correctly identify both the infected and those who had been compromised due to associating the infected. However, it was also highlighted that the danger was yet to pass.

“At the same time, it was observed that except for the few districts identified as high risk zones where the most number of COVID-19 patients were found, the spread of the virus at present does not pose a threat to other districts. Therefore, there is a possibility that the current restrictions imposed on these districts could be lifted by the end of the Sinhala New Year season,” the PMD statement said.

The current prevention program will thus continue as it is until this period. Thereafter, a decision as to the next step to be taken will be considered after further studying the situation, the statement added.

The statement went on to say that headed by President Rajapaksa the COVID-19 prevention program thus far had been based on the professional advice from the health, medical, security and legal expertise and the program would continue to rely on this expertise until the crisis was brought under control.

The ongoing processes will continue to monitor the pandemic from a global context whilst studying the guidelines issued periodically by the World Health Organization. Comparing these results and recommendations with the prevailing situation in Sri Lanka, the program will be updated as suitable and needed.

Apart from COVID-19 positive patients, those suspected to have contracted the virus and those who had been in close association with these two groups will also be regularly and repeatedly tested. This is in line with the procedures followed by countries that have successfully brought the spread of this virus under control.

Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga, former Western Province Governor Dr. Seetha Arambepola Defence Secretary (Rtd) Major General Kamal Gunaratna, Army Commander Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Acting IGP C.D. Wickramarathna, officers from the GMOA, and Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka Chairman Jayantha de Silva joined the discussion.

(FT)

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