Dengue Epidemic in Sri Lanka is successfully brought under control

The dengue epidemic that has become a concern in Sri Lanka for the past few months is successfully brought under control by the measures taken by the relevant government authorities and collective effort of the general public alike, Sri Lanka Tourism confirms.Reported cases have dropped by 35-40% since mid July according to the sources of Ministry of Health. Regular campaigns were implemented to educate, clean up areas and other preventive measures have been taking place to control the spreading of the disease under guidance and surveillance of the Ministry of Health of Sri Lanka.
Health Authorities are on alert and have issued precautions for the prevention of the disease. Therefore, there is no need to be alarmed or distressed over the situation. Most cases have been reported from the Western Province, which has higher population density of the country. The tourist hot spots and hotels in the suburban areas are not affected. Actions have been taken by the Ministry of Health,Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine under the guidance of the Minister, Hon. Dr. Rajitha Senarathne to improve the preventive and curative health care facilities to combat the current situation and strengthen preventative services.

Necessary steps have been taken to strengthen the Dengue Entomological and Disease surveillance systems in collaboration with the Epidemiology Unit and National Dengue Control Unit. Actions have been taken to provide all necessary drugs needed for Dengue patient management. Training of staff on clinical management and monitoring of Dengue patients, creating constant public awareness are some of the safety actions taken from the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine regarding the matter.
Though the Western Province area was affected with the disease, it is under control now with the efforts of creating Dengue Eradication and awareness programs, and Colombo is now being cleared of garbage and the cleaning of drainage systems are also taking place. In Western Province, surveillance systems and disposal system have been implemented. A well-organized counter productive measures are underway to create awareness amongst community living in the suburbs of Western Province of the causes of spread of dengue epidemic. (These are interior parts of the Province which are outside tourist circuits) This has helped in educating and engaging the households and community (who are mostly affected) in the low income segment which includes keeping surroundings clean at all times – the prime cause of the spread of the disease.

The effects of recent floods which contributed to the spread of epidemic are being effectively attended to led by the state authorities (with the required high level intervention) in a sustainable manner to prevent recurrence of pollution through effective garbage disposal.

The number of Dengue cases has decreased sharply by 40% since mid-July due to planned and systematic efforts by the respective state authorities in the recent weeks.

Impact of dengue in other parts of the country (other than Western Province) have been minimal and continue to be under complete control and surveillance.

Tourists are seen to be freely moving around the country including in the city of Colombo.

Sri Lanka Tourism Authority is of the opinion that aggressive actions taken by the Health Ministry and the Local authorities in affected areas to arrest the situation have yielded results. Sri Lanka Tourism will continue to update the progress and is confident that there is no cause for alarm.

Sri Lanka Tourism urges travelers to resort to correct sources of information to find out the latest updates on the disease such as Ministry of Health website and all Sri Lanka Missions abroad.

Australia announces assistance to combat dengue

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop announced a major Australian assistance to combat dengue fever in Sri Lanka. She made this announcement when she called on President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s Residence in Colombo today (July 20).

Recalling that President Sirisena made a special mention about the spreading of dengue and Chronic Kidney Disease in Sri Lanka during his recent state visit to Australia, Ms Bishop expressed happiness that Australia could announce two programmes to assist Dengue prevention.

Foreign Minister Bishop said Australia would immediately provide 475,000 Australian dollars (Rs 58 million) to the World Health Organization to implement immediate dengue prevention, management and eradication programs in Sri Lanka.

She said Australia will provide additional 1 million dollars (Rs 118 million) for a research partnership between Australia’s Monash University and Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry to test the introduction of naturally occurring Wolbachia bacteria to eradicate dengue fever from Sri Lanka.

Ms Bishop said the bacteria “prevent transmission of dengue virus between humans” and that it has shown success during the last six years in countries such as Brazil, Columbia, Australia, India, Vietnam and Indonesia where it was piloted.

The bacteria have the ability to block other mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika and Chikungunya as well.

President Sirisena expressed his gratitude to the Government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the people of Australia for providing such assistance at a critical time. He said that several agreements and MoUs were reached during his visit and the two countries should implement them expeditiously to ensure benefits to the people.

Australian Foreign Minister thanked the President, the government and Sri Lanka Navy for excellent cooperation extended to curb human smuggling. The President said that as he discussed during the visit, the two countries should extend this cooperation to curb illegal trafficking of drugs and narcotics.

Ms Bishop said over the years, more than 30,000 Sri Lankans have studied in Australia under Colombo Plan and other programmes and currently, there are 7,500 Sri Lankan students in Australia. The 170,000 strong Sri Lankan origin persons living in Australia is a huge asset to boost bilateral ties, she said.

They also discussed the progress on the implementation of the reconciliation process, which is critical to its long-term security and prosperity.

Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Secretary to the President, Austin Fernando, Foreign Secretary Esala Weerakoon and Australian High Commissioner Bryce Hutchesson were also present on this occasion.

SriLankan Airlines launches non-stop service to Sri Lanka

SriLankan Airlines has announced it will operate a non-stop service to Melbourne Airport from 29 October 2017.

The new route will carry passengers between Melbourne and Colombo on an A330-200 aircraft.
SriLankan Airlines will operate daily flights from Melbourne.

Melbourne Airport Chief Executive Officer Lyell Strambi said the announcement opens up a new destination for Victorian travellers.
“Thanks to SriLankan Airlines we can connect Victorians’ directly to Sri Lanka’s largest city in just over 10 hours,” Mr Strambi said.

“Colombo is a vibrant and busy city, with a mixture of modern and colonial buildings and ruins, and we are thrilled to enable holidaymakers to explore the area in such an easy and convenient way.
“The new route will allow more Sri Lankan’s to visit family and friends living in Victoria, which is another bonus. According to 2011 census data, Victoria is home to 50 per cent of Australia’s Sri Lankan population and we are pleased to host a regular service to connect people globally.

“The flights will also benefit Indian travellers, offering a wider selection of flights when visiting the world’s most liveable city. Given India’s, and Sri Lanka’s obsession with cricket, the service is sure to be a popular one when the Australian cricket season fires up over summer.

“This is another example of Melbourne Airport working as part of Team Victoria to secure the right airlines, and viable routes and services that add value.”

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For further information please contact Melbourne Airport media on +61 3 9335 366.
Official media release by Melbourne Airport