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People to blame for “serious” rise in cases: Hemantha Herath

a year ago

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  • Health Ministry urges adherence to guidelines
  • PHIs to crack the whip on religious gathering organisers  
  • Gazette makes prior approval for public gatherings mandatory
  BY Buddhika Samaraweera Claiming that the increase in daily Covid-19 infections reported from certain parts of the country should be considered a serious situation, the Health Ministry has urged the public to follow proper Covid-19-related health guidelines despite the receipt of Covid-19 vaccines. Health Ministry Communications Director, Public Health Services Deputy Director General (DDG), and Disaster Preparedness and Response Division Head Dr. Hemantha Herath said: “It should be taken seriously that more cases of Covid-19 infections have been reported from different parts of the country than before. These are the results of the way people behaved a few weeks ago.” He also added that the Covid-19 vaccines only provide some protection against the disease and that it would not be right for the people to think that they would not be infected with the virus after obtaining the vaccines. “The Covid-19 vaccines only reduce the risk of death and serious complications following the Covid-19 infection, but if people behave in violation of the health guidelines and a re-spread of the disease occurs, those who received the vaccine, but are weak, may contract the virus. Even though they have received the vaccines, some of them may have serious complications and even die,” he said. Meanwhile, the Public Health Inspectors’ Union (PHIU) has warned of legal action against those who organise religious events in which people are gathering unnecessarily. Speaking to the media, PHIU President Upul Rohana said that there had been a religious event in Talawakelle recently, in which a large number of people had gathered. As per the health guidelines, such events are not permitted at present, he said, adding that necessary legal actions will be sought against the organisers for violating health guidelines. He also urged religious leaders, social activists, and politicians to behave in a responsible manner, as there is a high risk of another wave of Covid-19 in the country. Meanwhile, a special gazette notification was published yesterday (11), making it compulsory to obtain prior approval of relevant authorities for public gatherings, activities, events, or similar places of meetings.  The regulation was made by Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella under Sections 2 and 3 of the Quarantine and Prevention of Diseases Ordinance (Chapter 222). Accordingly, permission should be sought for the maximum number of persons or allowable capacity or percentage of total capacity permitted to participate in such a place of gathering, activity, event, or similar place of meeting. The Director General of Health Services said that legal action will be taken against those who hold public gatherings and meetings without such permission. According to the Epidemiology Unit, Sri Lanka, as of 10 p.m. yesterday (11), had recorded 13,908 Covid-19 deaths while the total number of infections stood at 547,346 of which a total of 522,789 patients had recovered.  

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