Other countries should have treated sick foreigners like we did: DGHS

Anil Jasinghe

If other countries where expatriate Sri Lankans are employed think humanely and accord the hospitality to them in the same way Sri Lanka accorded to foreign nationals, Sri Lanka would not have faced the problem of repatriation of hundreds of sick Sri Lankans, Director General Health Services (DGHS) Dr. Anil Jasinghe said yesterday.

He added that no country has the right expel any one sick from that country according to international conventions and on norms and protocol of decency and human rights.

He however vowed that the government would not hesitate for a moment to bring back each and every Sri Lankan stranded or remains in a helpless state or even sick but added it takes time.

Sri Lanka kept the first COVID 19 victim found in the country – a female Chinese tourist – until she recovered fully before sending her back.

“We need to maintain a gap between flights that brings Sri Lankans back because with the arrival of Covid 19 infected Sri Lankans, our fight against the viral infection comes under heavy pressure. We have three clusters that tested positive for Covid 19 and among those who were detected from the society during our random PCR tests were Navy personnel and those who arrived home from abroad after being infected. The danger we have confronted at the moment is that the number of sick among those coming back from abroad are rising rapidly. Yesterday alone 97 Sri Lankans arrived home from Kuwait tested positive for the viral infection,” he said.

Sri Lanka recorded the highest ever number of Covid 19 infections of 150 on Wednesday night spiralling the patients’ tally to 1,469 as of yesterday with 92 were expatriate Sri Lankans who arrived from Kuwait and five came back from Chennai, South India and the rest were 53 Navy personnel.

With the largest number of detections in 24 hours on Wednesday night, the country’s Covid 19 situation also changed dramatically. For instance, the number of hospitalisation of Covid 19 patients increased by 237 to 714 yesterday from 577 the previous day.

A total of 430 Sri Lankans and 3 foreign nationals who have arrived in Sri Lanka from abroad since March 20 have been hospitalised. Among Covid 19 victims, there are 771 Navy personnel and 303 others who have had close contacts with them have also been hospitalised and 75 tested positive for the viral infection were admitted to various hospitals in the country yesterday alone.

Consultant Physician of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), Dr. Eranga Narangoda meanwhile said two Covid 19 patients remained at the ICU of the NIID and one of them was in critical condition yesterday and added the other was improving.

(Source: Daily Mirror – By Sandun A Jayasekera)