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Preventing Covid-19: MoH issues 46 sets of guidelines

• Police to take strict action
The Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday (27) uploaded instructions for selected public activities/work settings for the prevention and control of Covid-19 as the country is eased into commencing its economic activities.

Initially, the MoH was to issue a gazette notification indicating that the country is returning to normalcy and also the common guidelines that should be followed by the citizens as there was still the threat of contracting Covid-19 if lapses take place with curfew being relaxed in all districts.

Curfew is imposed daily from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. the next day for a period of six hours.

Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Dr. Anil Jasinghe said: “We have prepared guidelines that would apply to public activities and work settings that can be implemented and adhered to. All these guidelines are made available on the MoH website and can be downloaded by the relevant institutions for reference.”

The guidelines relating to reopening schools, universities, conducting examinations, and holding elections are yet to be published, while the guidelines for other activities and work settings can be accessed through http://health.gov.lk. Dr. Jasinghe suggested that the heads of the institutions/parties concerned download these instructions and educate their subordinates/employees and display these in their establishments so that their customers will be able to clearly see it too.

Meanwhile, the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) had proposed that key behaviour changes need to be observed by all citizens to ensure that Covid-19 transmissions are at a low level with caseloads that can be managed by the health service.

“People need to behave responsibly while we gradually ease off the restrictions on movement and activities, by adopting ‘DREAM’. Everyone is required to maintain continued physical distancing (D), adopt respiratory etiquette (RE), practice hand hygiene and avoid touching one’s face (eyes, nose, and mouth) (aseptic technique – A), and to wear a face mask when required and to wear it correctly (M),” GMOA Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge noted.

With the curfew being relaxed, the Sri Lanka Police with the assistance of the tri-forces will continuously monitor the public to ensure that they follow these guidelines whilst easing into their day-to-day activities.

“We will deploy police units in civilian clothing, who will be equipped with mobile video recording devices to monitor and document the public’s activities. If they observe non-adherence to guidelines in public spaces, they will document and alert the police units in uniform, which will arrive at the location to record a statement from these persons,” Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Ajith Rohana stated.

When the violators are produced at court, the video evidence too will be handed over to the judge to support the case. DIG Rohana also noted that the DGHS has issued a circular to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) indicating that legal action is to be taken against anyone identified as disobeying quarantine regulations.

Rohana further explained that should a customer disregard the guidelines within a state or private establishment, the person in charge (duty manager/outlet manager) is given the authority to contact the nearest police unit to take action against such persons. In that instance, the police unit is to be permitted to access the company’s CCTV footage to determine non-adherence by the customer.