- PHI Union slams residents of Atalugama saying they are not cooperating
- PHI Union warns Atalugama worse than Colombo
- Says Atalugama might emerge into massive cluster
- They are doing what they want even under lockdown
By JAMILA HUSAIN
The Public Health Inspectors Union, yesterday warned that a massive COVID-19 cluster might emerge in Atalugama as residents were not cooperating with the health officers and were defying all health guidelines.
Public Health Inspectors Union of Sri Lanka (PHIUSL) Secretary, Mahesh Balasuriya told Daily Mirror that all PHI officers from the area had withdrawn from services after a COVID-19 infected man spat on health workers and PHI officers would not enter the area as the residents were on a rampage, going against all health guidelines.
He warned that Atalugama had now emerged into a high risk area and was far worse than Colombo as many patients were detected. Health officers who were on the ground, a few days ago said residents were moving around even under isolation and were refusing to wear masks when stepping outside their homes.
“Further, community and religious leaders in the area were also failing to support the health officers to bring the situation under control. Several confirmed COVID-19 patients were reported from the area, but residents had halted health officers from taking them to hospitals or placing their contacts under self quarantine. They were refusing to undergo quarantine even in their homes, and their movements were now posing a huge threat of the virus spreading beyond control” they said.
Balasuriya warned that if the residents of Atalugama do not cooperate with the health officers, the entire population there will have to be responsible if deaths are recorded.
“They are doing what they want even under a lockdown. Our officers also have to think of their self protection. We appeal to the public in Atalugama that infected people there need to be urgently hospitalized and also quarantined. They are blocking us. Without their cooperation we cannot do anything,” Balasuriya said. Meanwhile, Army Commander Lt. General Shavendra Silva said Atalugama might continue under isolation for a while if the people living in the area do not support the health sector and take action to protect their area.
Silva said they would not allow the arbitrary practices of a group of people living in one village to threaten the surrounding towns and the Kalutara district.