Sri Lanka has reopened the economy to a certain extent after lifting the curfew in many districts from Monday (09). exposing workers to the danger of the coronavirus contagion raging globally.
Even with the insignificant number of daily PCR tests in the country, more COVID-19 positive cases have been identified in Sri Lanka while the total number of cases reported from the Minuwangoda and Peliyagoda clusters reached 11,108 by Monday.
According to the Department of Government Information, 430 more persons were tested positive yesterday (10) with five persons succumbing to the deadly virus. The death toll now stands at 41.
Opposition parliamentarians claimed that the government is understating the official numbers of COVID infections to portray their “effectiveness” in controlling the pandemic.
According to independent assessments, however, the spread could be much higher with community infections already started.
As governments are exposing workers to the coronavirus, opposition grows internationally against unsafe working conditions, loss of jobs, repression and hunger.
Workers in Sri Lanka, including from the garment industry, public health and Samurdhi welfare program, have taken action to defend themselves over the past several weeks.
To compel workers to return to work, the government has declared it has created safe workplaces. The Director General of Health Services has issued “guidelines” to be observed, including the disinfection of institutions, sanitising facilities for employees and social distancing.
However, most workplaces are so congested that social distancing is impossible. The government is still to conduct mass testing.
Workers are not subject to PCR tests to identify asymptomatic cases. Some workers have been provided with masks but inadequate sanitary facilities.
Moreover, workers have to resort to public transportation to travel to work. Thus, there is a great risk that workers will become infected unknowingly, medical experts said.