1. I wish to clarify that in my last press briefing I was requesting for a lockdown of the Colombo city (1 to 15) as I am very well aware of the situation within the city and speak on behalf of city only.
2. The resources of the Govt and the CMC are overstretched in doing testing, identification, contact tracing and quarantining. A city-wide lockdown will enable the authorities to do a systematic, far reaching operation to test and isolate Covid-19 positive persons and their direct contacts so as to stop the spread in the highly congested city and from the city outward as well.
3. My main focus is that this lockdown can be used to quickly get on top of situation by doing a lot more testing, including much more random testing, identify and isolate pockets and bring normalcy back as soon as possible, so that city life and business can resume as normal as soon as possible.
4. As Mayor of Colombo I request every resident of Colombo and everyone who comes into Colombo to exercise all safety measures in place and assist the Govt to overcome this challenge. The most effective way is assuming that every other person you meet is potentially a COVID-19 positive person and act with the necessary level of safety with safe DISTANCING, face mask WEARING, Regularly WASHING hands.
5. In the meantime, we are facing a massive humanitarian crisis in the city due to the knock-on effects of the Covid19 pandemic. I appeal to those who are better off to help some of our fellow residents who are undergoing untold hardship due to economic impact of COVID-19. Please look at how you can help your “neighbour” at this time of need.
6. During the first lockdown the CMC distributed dry rations packs to 50,000 families in the city. This time too we are trying to do so but our finances are also stretched to the limit.
7. We are seeking the assistance of corporates & individuals who can contribute directly to those in need or join hands with the CMC and contribute in kind or cash to the Mayors Fund which is used to purchase and distribute dry rations to those in need.
a. There are approx. 100,000 families within the city in need of assistance due to them being in lockdown areas and losing their ability to earn daily wage/revenue.
b. The CMC has made preparations to provide dry ration packs to 70,000 families immediately.
c. We are seeking the generous support of corporates and individuals to make up the balance for 30,000 dry ration packs.
8. As an income support scheme for low income families, we are bringing together some corporates and disadvantaged families who have received free sewing machines previously to manufacture and distribute approx. 650,00 face masks free of charge.
9. We have received 4,000 sanitary packs for the economically disadvantaged from a non-governmental organization, which we are making arrangements to distribute.
10. There is a massive constant operation to undertake the testing, isolation, contact tracing in the city, and this is primarily handled by the CMC public health department. This is stretching our heroes in the public health department to the limit, as they work with very little rest and recuperation in order to fulfil their national duty. We are in need to expand our human resources urgently and therefore have;
a. Called up all retired PHI’s to report back to provide temporary cover.
b. We are in discussion with the Medical Faculty to bring in medical students as interns to undertake certain tasks in the public health department.
11. We are establishing a dedicated ambulance service to ferry seriously ill patients in lockdown areas to hospital and to deliver their medications.
12. In order to boost immunity and general body health the CMC Ayurveda Dept manufactures and distributes a special immunity boosting herbal preparation. Residents can obtain same from their local CMC Ayurveda clinic free of charge.
13. We have an established 24 hours medical advice service hotlines with direct access to the CMC Medical Officers.
14. I take this opportunity to request everyone to treat suspected COVID-19 patients with care & compassion while observing strictest safety for yourself.
15. We are all in this TOGETHER and the CMC will do its utmost over and above its normal line of duty to help in overcoming this pandemic. It is in all of our interest that the Govt succeeds in its fight against the Covid-19 outbreak and my hope and desire is that thru some of the measures being suggested the Govt will achieve success.
Mayor of Colombo
PRESS RELEASE from Colombo Mayor Rosi Senanayake.