Unnecessary public gatherings exacerbate Covid variants: Hemantha Herath

  • Health Ministry warns against guideline violations; urges exercise of civic responsibility 

By Buddhika Samaraweera

The Health Ministry has warned that if people are gathering unnecessarily in violation of the Covid-19-related health guidelines in the prevailing pandemic situation, there is a risk of the spread of even more severe variants of the Covid-19 virus, in addition to those that are currently spreading in the country.

During a media briefing held yesterday (21), the media questioned Health Ministry Communications Director, Public Health Services Deputy Director General (DDG), and Disaster Preparedness and Response Division Head Dr. Hemantha Herath on whether the recent reports of large gatherings of people in public places would turn the green light to reopen the country into a red light.

In response, Dr. Herath said that there is a risk of an increase of spread of the Covid-19 pandemic whenever people gather unnecessarily.

“Whether the people are gathered at shops or parties or wherever it is, all these events will cause an increase in the spread of Covid-19.”

Due to such gatherings, he also said, there is a possibility of more severe Covid-19 variants spreading in the country, in addition to those that are spreading at present.

“More severe variants could enter the country and spread due to this kind of unnecessary gatherings.”

Emphasising that the pandemic is not something that can be controlled by the health sector alone, Dr. Herath said that everyone should, therefore, act responsibly. He added that if this is not done, the country would face a catastrophic situation due to the behaviour of a very small group of people.

“As I always say, controlling this pandemic is not something that only the health sector can do. If we all don’t act responsibly, a few can destroy the entire country,” he warned.