Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop, who was on a two-day visit to the country, promised the Australian assistance to combat the dengue fever in Sri Lanka.
Bishop also called on President Maithripala Sirisena this morning to know about the worst outbreak of dengue fever in Sri Lanka.
Australia would immediately provide 475,000 Australian dollars (USD 377,000) to the World Health Organization (WHO) to implement immediate dengue prevention, management and eradication programmes in Sri Lanka, Bishop said yesterday.
Australia will also grant one million Australian dollars (USD 795,000) for a research partnership between its Monash University and Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry to test the introduction of naturally occurring Wolbachia bacteria to eradicate dengue fever from Sri Lanka.
According to WHO figures, from January 1 to July 7, 215 people have died out of the total 80,732 people infected by the outbreak of dengue fever, a 4.3 fold higher than the average number of cases for the same period between 2010 and 2016.
Nearly 43 per cent of the cases were reported from the Western Province, the WHO said, adding that the most affected area is the Colombo district where a total 18,186 cases were reported, followed by Gampaha (12,121), Kurunegala (4,889), Kalutara (4,589), Batticaloa (3,946), Ratnapura (3,898) and Kandy (3,853).
As an urgent measure to combat the epidemic, the Cabinet decided yesterday to impose regulations to check houses and properties which are being overlooked for maintenance to take legal action against them under public security Act.
The hospitals in Sri Lanka are teeming with patients, and the government has deployed soldiers, police and health officials to monitor houses and clear rotting garbage, stagnant water pools and other potential mosquito-breeding grounds across the country.