Sri Lanka seeks medical oxygen as Covid crisis intensifies

Sri Lanka has requested the World Health Organization (WHO), seeking the supply of medical oxygen as the island country faces its worst Covid-19 crisis. The country is currently under a ten-day-long nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the virus

Aug 21, 2021
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Sri Lanka seeks medical oxygen

Sri Lanka has requested the World Health Organization (WHO), seeking the supply of medical oxygen as the island country faces its worst Covid-19 crisis. The country is currently under a ten-day-long nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. 

WHO Representative to Sri Lanka Dr. Alaka Singh and Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella held discussions this week. The former informed that the WHO would take up the Sri Lankan request in the European Union, reported Morning newspaper. 

Dr. Singh stated emergency services standards in Sri Lanka “at satisfactory level” after taking stock of measures taken by the government. The WHO has been providing emergency assistance to Sri Lanka to deal with the Covid-19 crisis. 

In line with the WHO’s pledge to provide further assistance to bolster the emergency medical services of the country, she said that rapid antigen testing kits could be provided to Sri Lanka on demand.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has also been importing oxygen from India as the demand surpasses the country’s domestic production capacity. The Covid-19 cases have gone up significantly, and hospitals have comes under immense strain.
 
For weeks the government had been avoiding imposing nationwide lockdown, considering economic consequences at a time when it is already facing an economic crisis. So far it relied on imposing localized smart lockdowns, which kept economic activities going in other parts. 

However, as the cases rose significantly, the capital Colombo--which is the worst affected region-- saw a self-imposed lockdown in the last few days. Streets were deserted as people avoided going out and shops remained shuttered. 

Many restrictions were already there. Educational institutes, gyms, nonessential gatherings, shows, and marriage functions were also banned.

Various social and religious groups and businesses have been demanding an immediate nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of infections. In the last 30 days, the average daily cases doubled. 

The country’s medical infrastructure came under significant strain as hospitals across the country were flooded with patients, many among them now seeking oxygen support. 

“They listen to us it will be good for our leaders and for the country," Tissa Witarana, a member of parliament, who was calling for a strict nationwide lockdown, said just before the announcement. 

(SAM)

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