DGHS Can Recommend Nationwide Lockdown – Kumudesh
BY DILANTHI JAYAMANNE
The Director General of Health Services (DGHS) has been vested with the power to recommend a lockdown of the country through the Quarantine Act as amended, President of the College of Medical Laboratory Science Sri Lanka (CMLSSL), Ravi Kumudesh said. Kumudesh said on Monday (3), that the DGHS had the clear power vested in him by the Constitution to act in the best interests of the public’s health safety and use the Quarantine Act, as amended to call for a lockdown in view of the tremendous increase in local COVID-19 figures. However, unlike many who think that such a recommendation should be made in accordance with the recommendations made to him by the Epidemiology Unit, there are two other units as well who hold responsibility.
Namely, the Laboratory and Medical Services, Kumudesh said. Fielding questions, the CMLSSL President said the country was witnessing the repercussions of the negligence which occurred towards the latter part of the first COVID-19 wave. The Health Ministry failed to continue to take appropriate action to prevent the occurrence of the so-called second wave in October last year, while this time too by 14 April 2021 it had drastically reduced PCR testing, so that patients being detected were few and far between. Thereby, he alleged that the Health Ministry created an artificial scenario for the public.
Kumudesh said there should be a probe into the rapid spread of the variant from the United Kingdom B.1.1.7 in Sri Lanka. However, the Deputy Director General (Public Health –I) said earlier that the random PCR testing had been reduced in keeping with recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) at a time when the number of cases being detected was low. Investigations into the spread of the UK variant in Sri Lanka cannot be done with a mere experiment, Chief Epidemiologist, Dr. Sudath Samaraweera said, observing that it called for a lengthy probe, during which one had to look at the bigger picture.