COVID-19 cannot spread through well-cooked fish – Dr. Sridharan
By Dilanthi Jayamanne
Director General of Health Services (Acting), Dr. S. Sridharan, issuing a statement, said there was no scientific evidence that coronavirus was transmitted through well-cooked fish.
Dr. Sridharan said, theoretically, the coronavirus can be found on any surface, while preparing fish for storage or cooking. Therefore, the face should not be touched. Also, the utensils used for preparation of fish and the hands must be washed thoroughly.
“It should be emphasised that the baseless closure of fish markets is unnecessary, and they may continue to operate following the provision of health measures such as social distancing, hand washing, and the proper wearing of face masks,” he said.
Elsewhere, Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi pledged to issue guidelines to conduct the fish trade as soon as possible, following the blow dealt to the fishing industry by the current COVID-19 crisis at the Peliyagoda Fish Market as well as the Beruwala and Galle Fishing Harbours.
It was revealed during discussions held between Minister Wanniarachchi and State Minister for Fisheries, Kanchana Wijesekera on Saturday (24), that there were 20 fishing harbours surrounding the island. The aim of the discussions was to find solutions to the issues faced by fishermen and consumers, owing to the current COVID-19 cluster that had erupted within the fishing community.
Media Secretary to the Health Minister, Wiraj Abeysinghe, said the Galle, Beruwala and Valaichchenai Fishing Harbours had maintained direct contact with the Peliyagoda Fish Market. He said according to officials of the State Ministry for Fisheries, there were 32 multi-day vessels at the Beruwala Fishing Harbour and another 21 multi-day vessels at the Galle fishing Harbour. Together, the vessels had 350,000 kilogrammes of fish, waiting to be brought ashore.
They appealed to the Minister to draw up health safety guidelines which would assist the fishermen land their catch, so that consumers could purchase the fish.
He said Minister Wanniarachchi had issued instructions to the Health Secretary and officials to draft the guidelines to be submitted to the State Minister of Fisheries, to be handed over to the fisheries harbours.
Secretary to the State Ministry of Fisheries, R.M.I. Rathnayake, Director General of Health Services (Acting), S. Sridharan, and Director General of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Susantha Kahawatta were also present.