(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –There is no need for a lockdown or curfew as the health authorities are in full control of the Kandakadu situation and there is no sign of a new wave of social transmission of COVID-19, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa assured yesterday.
Addressing heads of media institutions and senior editors at Temple Trees yesterday, Prime Minister Rajapaksa decried attempts by the Opposition in their election campaigns to portray the recent discovery of positive patients associated with the Kandakadu Rehabilitation Centre as a “Second Wave” of the Coronavirus.
“There is no second wave. The positive patients are not from the society – they are all from camps or are the associates of camp employees or inmates. All these contacts have been traced and quarantined,” the Prime Minister added. He said all steps were being taken to prevent any social transmission of the virus.
He urged the Opposition not to use the Coronavirus situation to gain political mileage and create fear among the people. He also exhorted the media to report the facts correctly and educate the people on Coronavirus prevention methods.
All must get together to defeat this contagion, he stressed.
He said SLPP rallies were stopped for a few days out of an abundance of caution but would start again with complete adherence to health guidelines, as done earlier too. He appealed to other parties to act in conformity with the health guidelines.
Higher Education, Innovation, Technology and Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena noted that Sri Lanka has fared much better in comparison with most developed countries and also neighbours such as India and Singapore in terms of COVID-19 infections. “Unfortunately, the message we hear from the Opposition political stage is that only Sri Lanka has a COVID problem and that it is extensive, which is not the case at all. The media must highlight the true situation to the people.”
Health Services Director General Dr Anil Jasinghe confirmed the Premier’s assertions, saying there is no absolutely no reason at this stage to go for a lockdown. “Having traced some of the contacts of employees and inmates of Kandakadu, we took them for quarantine. This does not mean that they are already infected with COVID-19. However, this has been misinterpreted in many quarters to the effect that so many infected persons have been discovered. Right now, only 12,000 people in the Rajanganaya tracts 1-5 are under a lockdown.”
Dr. Jasinghe said many other countries that experienced social transmission of the disease did not have the efficient contact tracing capability that Sri Lanka has. Contact tracing was the key to avoid social transmission as the first, second and even the third level contacts can be quickly identified and isolated.
Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva said more than 4,000 PCR tests have been performed for the contacts of Kandakadu, but so far all indications are that there is no social transmission of the virus in the society at large.
It was very important to follow the health guidelines strictly in order to localise any infections and prevent social transmission.