Beruwala PHIs withdraw from COVID-19 work

By Dilanthi Jayamanne, Sulochana Ramiah Mohan, Thameenah Razeek, Naalir Jamaldeen, Shiran Ranasinghe, FarookSihan, M.A.P.Deen - Ampara Corr, S. Sathiskumar (Bogawanthalawa Corr) | Published: 2:00 AM Nov 27 2020
News Beruwala PHIs withdraw from COVID-19 work

By Dilanthi Jayamanne, Sulochana Ramiah Mohan, Thameenah Razeek, Naalir Jamaldeen, Shiran Ranasinghe, FarookSihan, M.A.P.Deen - Ampara Corr, S. Sathiskumar (Bogawanthalawa Corr)

Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) have withdrawn their services in Beruwala in the Kalutara District amidst the increasing number of COVID-19 patients being detected from several areas of the District, demanding the Health Department to cancel a transfer given to a Medical Officer of Health (MOH) who is alleged to have interfered and disrupted their services, Secretary of the Public Health Inspectors’ Union of Sri Lanka (PHIUSL), M. Balasooriya said

Balasooriya lamented that the said MOH had been transferred to the National Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS) earlier following complaints. However, he has been transferred back to the Divisional Hospital, Beruwala, this will reignite the antagonism he has against the PHIs.

The PHIUSL Secretary said that the PHIs had appealed to the Health Minister and the Director General Health Services (DGHS) to cancel the transfer and if not the Beruwala PHIs would be forced to continue with their trade union action and keep away from COVID-19 control and preventive work. 

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 patients being detected from the Northern and Eastern Province have shown an increase since last Saturday (21).

Several more patients infected with the COVID-19 virus were diagnosed following the identification of the 72-year-old patient suffering from disease at the District General Hospital, Kilinochchi earlier this week. 

Regional Director Health Services (RDHS) Kilicochchi, Dr. N. Saravanabhavan said yesterday (26)that while the said patient had worked in a shop which retailed engine oil while the next shop distributed mineral water. Three persons in this shop too had been diagnosed with the virus subsequently. A relative of the 72-year old was also diagnosed with the viral infection. 

Medical sources said that during the past ten days there had been approximately 101 persons to whom mineral water had been sold. The elderly persons who were first diagnosed had shared living premises with persons from the mineral water shop. 

Also of 71 samples tested by the Medical Faculty, Jaffna 12 had tested positive. Seven of them were from the Kankaisanthurai (KKS) Navy Camp and three were mineral water distributors who travelled to Colombo, Kurunegala and Kandy, sources said. 

Eastern situation 

Meanwhile, schools in Kalmunai Educational Zone will remain closed for one week from today (27) after several persons tested positive for COVID-19 during random PCR sampling was carried out in the Ampara District. Governor of the Eastern Province, Anuradha Yahampath said the date of reopening of these schools would be notified later. 

Several areas in the Akkaraipattu Medical Office Health (MoH) area in the Eastern Province have been isolated from Thursday (26) until further notice after COVID-19 infection has been diagnosed in 12 persons following random PCR tests.

So far in the Eastern Province, a total of 144 were tested COVID-19 positive and were isolated.

Eastern Provincial Director of Health Services (PDHS), Dr. A. Lathakaran told Ceylon Today that of 20 persons in the Akkaraipattu area, 10 had tested positive. Also, two COVID-19 cases had been reported in Kathankudy and one more in Sainthamaruthu. 

After the random PCR tests were conducted on Wednesday (25) on 20 people who were engaged in business at a fish market in Akkaraipattu in the DS Division, 10 were found to be positive, he said. 

The Regional Director Health Services, Kalmunai, Dr.Gunasingham Sugunan yesterday (26) said that 32 COVID 19 carriers have been detected so far in the Kalmunai region. Public markets and schools in the division were closed from yesterday till further notice.

He was speaking to the Media at the Regional Health Services Director’s office in Kalmunai and said that vendors who have shops in the Akkaraipattu market are being subjected to PCR tests. 

Schools in the Kalmunai, Akkaraipattu, Sammanthurai and Thirukkovil Education Zones were closed for a week from yesterday, according to Dr.Sugunan.

Up Country COVID

Seven persons have been identified to have contracted the Virus on November 26 in the Ginigathena, Maskelia and Watawala areas.

In particular, six members (three men and two women) including a three- year- old in the same family have been confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 in the Hettikegama area in Ginigathena.

Also those entering the Nuwara Eliya District from Colombo are subjected to PCR testing near the check point at Ginigathena, Kalugalla.

The recent detection of a mother of a three-year-old was also from Colombo and samples were obtained for the PCR test and subsequently sent to a quarantine centre.

An Advance Level student from Watawala, who came from Colombo was tested positive with the virus. He returned from Orugodawatte since it was school holidays. He was tested at the checkpoint at Ginigathhena and confirmed positive. 

Meanwhile, samples for PCR testing are being continuously obtained from those coming from Colombo to the Nuwara Eliya District. To date, 100 people have undergone PCR testing at the Elpotha checkpoint.

Sixty-four people from 12 families in Kalkandawatta, in the Talawakelle police division, have been subjected to PCR tests yesterday (26).

PCR Testing 

Legal action will be taken against individuals who refuse to undergo PCR tests in isolated areas, Police Spokesman, DIG Ajith Rohana said yesterday (26) said.

The Police took the decision on information that some people in isolated areas had refused to undergo PCR tests adding that an investigation has already been launched in this regard. He also added that under the quarantine law the authorities have a right to conduct tests to verify if someone has  contracted the virus.

“There are provisions in the law to take legal action against individuals refusing to be tested. No one can refuse to undergo a PCR test, once health authorities order them to do so ,” he said.

Meanwhile, 660 people have been arrested since October 30 for failing to wear a face mask or maintain social distancing. The Police spokesman noted that the public must wear face masks and maintain social distancing no matter in which part of the country they are.

Director General Health Services, Dr. Asela Gunawardhna says that a final decision on whether to lift the lockdown or isolation status in certain areas in Colombo and Atalugama will be taken shortly.

He stated that from PCR tests conducted in places such as Colombo, Borella, Sirimalwatta and Mutwal yesterday (26) they would be able to get a basic understanding of the spread of the viral infection. 

Dr. Dunawardhana added that a decision on whether or not to lift the isolation status imposed in these areas will be taken during the next few days allowing the people to resume their day-to-day activities.

By Dilanthi Jayamanne, Sulochana Ramiah Mohan, Thameenah Razeek, Naalir Jamaldeen, Shiran Ranasinghe, FarookSihan, M.A.P.Deen - Ampara Corr, S. Sathiskumar (Bogawanthalawa Corr) | Published: 2:00 AM Nov 27 2020

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