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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2784

Travel Advisory, "Not to Panic People-But to Maintain Public Vigilance"-Health Ministry Official

InfluenzaAnjana Jayashan reporting from Colombo

Colombo, 17 August, (Asiantribune.com): Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry requests the Sri Lankans to refrain from visiting Mumbai and Pune in India, except on necessary occasions.

An official from the Health Ministry said that the decision was taken following the novel influenza A (H1-N1) virus which is rapidly spreading in India. The fact which the Ministry had highly noted was out of eighty seven percent from the total infected patients had been infected in foreign countries. The other patients had come into close contact with those infected.

A large number of influenza patients and disease related deaths were reported from the state of Maharashtra, while a total of 24 deaths from the disease was reported so far, from whole of India.

When the 24th death was reported, Indian Prime Minister Mahmohan Singh had on Saturday (Aug 15) assured the country that the Indian government would take all necessary steps to control the spread of the disease.

The Ministry official said that the decision of a travel advisory is not to panic the people, but to maintain public vigilance to stop the disease from spreading in the country.

The first confirmed influenza patient was detected in Sri Lanka for the first time on June 16 and so far 70 patients have been reported. The case was an eight-year-old boy who was an Australian citizen. Three more relatives of his family had also been confirmed as positive cases for the infection. According to the Ministry’s Epidemiological Unit the latest report is about a patient who arrived from Singapore.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan government has already initiated a special program at the Bandaranaike International Airport to detect possible cases of the disease coming to the country. All arriving passengers are screened by thermal scanners installed before the immigration desk and those detected with high fever are sent to one of 20 hospitals which the government has selected as sentinel hospitals for pandemic influenza preparedness.

- Asian Tribune -

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