The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday said that Sri Lanka has taken appropriate measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus and relevant ministries were well prepared and equipped.
WHO Spokesperson, Sahani Chandraratna told Daily Mirror that the WHO was working closely with the relevant ministries in the country to monitor the situation and provide support as needed.
Chandraratna said that WHO's declaration of declaring the coronavirus spread as a public health emergency of international concern enhanced coordination, cooperation, and global solidarity.
"It confirms that the best way forward is for countries to work together to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. The International Health Regulations committee issued recommendations on how neighbouring countries can prevent onward spread. Based on currently available information, WHO does not recommend any restriction of travel or trade. Countries are encouraged to continue strengthening their preparedness for health emergencies in line with the International Health Regulations (2005)," Chandraratna said.
An official from the Health Ministry said following discussions with the WHO yesterday, the global health body had expressed satisfaction at the steps taken by Sri Lankan authorities as strict measures were in place at all airports, seaports and tourists were being strictly monitored.
"Sri Lanka has from the initial stages, implemented very strict measures to prevent the spread of the disease. In fact, the one person who has been infected with the coronavirus is also stable and recovering well. So the WHO is very happy at the measures taken by us," the Ministry official said.
"There are some who are attempting to spread panic among citizens. But the Health Ministry reiterates that everything is under control and there is no necessity for people to be worried," the official added.
The official further said that 13 more suspected cases were admitted at the Infectious Disease Hospital but initial reports revealed that their reports were negative.
The official also said that Sri Lanka was not considering travel and trade restrictions with China as the WHO had not recommended it.
The WHO yesterday declared the spread of the novel coronavirus as a global health emergency, an acknowledgement of the risk the virus poses to countries beyond its origin in China and of the need for a more coordinated international response to the outbreak. (Jamila Husain)