Special medical team for Kachchathivu Feast | Daily News


Special medical team for Kachchathivu Feast

A special Health Ministry medical team has been sent to Kachchativu Island for Feast of St. Anthony as a precautionary measure due to the current concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak, the Navy said on Thursday, during a media briefing held at the Defence Ministry Media Centre. The Navy said that they expect around 3,000 pilgrims from India for the annual Kachchativu feast.

Speaking to the Daily News, Navy Spokesman Lt. Com.

Isuru Sooriyabandara said that all arrangements had been made to hold the Kachchativu feast today (March 7).

“The Health Ministry Epidemiology Unit has been entrusted with the task of providing medical facilities on the island during the feast.

We expect as many as 3,000 pilgrims from India and around 7,000 pilgrims from Sri Lanka to attend the feast. This medical team have conducted awareness programmes together with the Navy medical unit,” Sooriyabandara said.

India yesterday reported its 31st confirmed case of COVID-19, but none were reported from Tamil Nadu so far. The pilgrims attending the Kachchatheevu Feast are mainly the fishing communities from Tamil Nadu.

However, Lt. Com. Sooriyabandara noted that their greater concern is not about the Coronavirus but Malaria. “Malaria has been reported from India and our greater concern is about that and not Coronavirus. However, we have made all arrangements for the medical team to carry out screening procedures to ensure the safety of pilgrims. The Epidemiology unit members and Navy medical teams from Jaffna and Kytes will be deployed and all thermal scanners and other medical equipment has been installed on Kachchativu Island. Further, in the event a suspected case is detected, all required medical gear and facilities have been established to isolate such patients as well,” he assured.

The Navy has also taken measures to educate those attending the Kachchativu Feast on following proper hygiene practices and how to protect themselves from getting infected. The Navy has also taken measures to install hand wash centers throughout the island for the convenience of pilgrims. The Navy will also provide food and water for the pilgrims attending the feast.

When asked what measures were in place to ensure the security of Indian and Sri Lankan pilgrims attending the feast, the Navy Spokesman said, “As this is a joint exercise between India and Sri Lanka, the Indian authorities will issue passes to all pilgrims visiting Kachchativu from India. Similarly, based on the list of pilgrims provided by the Government Agent, all Sri Lankan pilgrims attending the feast have also been issued passes. Those without these passes will not be allowed to disembark in Kachchativu. As a further security measure, all those attending the feast will be body checked prior to being allowed on the island.”St. Anthony’s Church on Katchatheevu Island located in close proximity to the Indo-Sri Lanka Maritime Boundary Line, has long been the pinnacle of reverence of both Indian and Sri Lankan Catholic devotees and draws large crowds from both countries during the annual feast.

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