One more review session of COVID-19 Task Force members on the control of the epidemic, chaired by General Shavendra Silva, Head, NOCPCO, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army, together with Dr Asela Gunawardena, Medical Specialist and Director General of Health Services got underway this afternoon (4) at the National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) at Rajagiriya.
During this discussion, General Shavendra Silva updated the gathering as regards the present status of the pandemic and behaviour of the new COVID-19 variant during the 3rd wave as well as new isolated areas of the country, designed to prevent further transmission.
“The armed forces would supply normal beds and make camps available to function as Intermediate Care Centres for Covid-19 patients while simultaneously increasing the number of ICU bed capacity in hospitals. The government adopts two options at this moment, either to go for a total lockdown or to manage with the situation while running the country. At times, PCR numbers had to be increased to 15,000- 20,000 in order to locate new patients and isolate specific areas as necessary, considering the serious need for it.
“The COVID-19 Center (NOCPCO), now manned with more Officers would monitor developments throughout day and night and collect details about new patients from every MOH. Similarly, affected people who cannot find transport or other requirements to proceed to Care Centres can contact Hotline 1906 at NOCPCO and seek assistance for coordination. The Army will get 10,000 new beds to hospitals very shortly, and similarly the Army Seva Vanitha Unit after converting a building to be a Care Centre will provide 1200 more beds, “NOCPCO Head revealed.
Talking about COVID-19 vaccination process, he told the gathering that the first consignment of 15,000 doses from Russia has arrived here and if scientific recommendations are okay, another stock of 185,000 vaccines could be brought down within a week. More stocks can be brought down in future, accordingly.
General Shavendra Silva also commented on the role of some Social Media elements who are working against national efforts at this critical juncture of the nation and cautioned against their false publicity gimmicks. He also instructed the Police to closely monitor the quarantine work, occurring at home fronts as it is necessary to be kept them in quarantine for 7 days to two weeks.
In the meantime, Director General of Health Services emphasized that the human behaviour would remain the most critical factor in today’s context which would eventually decide the future of the nation. Other stakeholders also discussed general matters, related to isolation, readiness of health sector, preparedness of essential services, oxygen supplies, health staff, arrival of expatriates, quarantine centres, procedures and process of vaccination, including second phase of the vaccine for all members who had already received the first dose.