03rd December 2020 09:21:49 Hours
Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Head, NOCPCO, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army and Dr Asela Gunawardena, Medical Specialist & Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Tuesday afternoon (1) co-chaired one more session of the NOCPCO Task Force at the NOCPCO, attended by all members and experts in the field.
The Task Force closely reviewed the status quo, new developments and emergency measures to control the contamination of the Covid19 in the country. Management of isolated areas and locations, infiltration of the virus into new areas, behavioral patterns of the public, conduct of essential services in restricted areas were lengthily discussed. The NOCPCO Head told the meeting every effort would be made to minimize the size of the isolated areas from Police areas to GN divisions as per directions of H.E. the President in order to avoid inconvenience to the general public.
Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva pointed out although attempts were made to re-open schools, the attendance varied from 40%-75%. Only the Uva recorded a 75 % attendance. In some areas outside the Western Province, schools which could have been opened remained closed as the decisions taken by local authorities were without proper evaluation of the COVID-19 situation.
Touching on the question of isolation of areas, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva told the members that only a few places in Colombo and Gampaha districts still remain isolated, 3 areas from Gampaha and 2 areas from Colombo. Similarly, areas in Atalugama, Akurana and Akkareipattu have been kept under isolation with detection of more positive ones.
Commenting on the unrest at Mahara prison, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva told the Task Force that an investigation is on to unveil the real causes behind the incident. He further mentioned that, if the authorities followed organized measures to separate and medically treat the COVID-19 positive cases of the inmates of the Mahara prison, this incident would have been managed in a different way and averted.
“Among them were large numbers of cases imprisoned due to drug-related cases. H.E. the President has directed the Army to work out a programme to rehabilitate drug addicted personnel without keeping them imprisoned for prolonged periods. The military is now trying to establish more rehabilitation centres for these prisoners,” he added.
He also told the meeting that the authorities have not yet regulated any pricing formula for Antigen tests. Further, HE the President has directed the Disaster Management Centre to arrange coffins for free of charge for needed COVID deaths, if necessary.
Dr Asela Gunawardena, Director General of Health Services (DGHS) said that there's a major issue with the cremation of COVID-19 positive dead bodies as they remain in mortuaries unclaimed. Once a decision is taken, those bodies are to be disposed at state cost. “Our cremation and the burial system is very clear. There is no change in that system. Ministry of Health will continue to cremate those dead bodies, "Dr Gunawardena emphasized. (Source: courtesy NOCPCO)