Anti coronavirus concoction draws large crowds at temple in Sri Lanka

Colombo, Dec 8 (efe-epa).- Thousands of people gathered at a temple in southern Sri Lanka on Tuesday for a concoction promising to cure and protect from Covid-19 infection, especially after it was consumed by the country’s Minister of Health during an event.

Spread of misinformation has pushed many people to resort to purported herbal remedies in the island nation, where the novel coronavirus has infected more than 28,000 people and caused 140 deaths so far, according to government data.

“I also went with my friends to take the medicine. We have powerful herbs that can cure anything, and this (concoction) is also made of such ingredients,” P. Sumuda, a university student, told EFE.

“It’s made of herbs, so what harm can it do?” asked Sumuda, who eventually did not manage get his dose because of the large crowd gathered at Hettimulla Temple in Sabaragamuwa Province.

The herbal mixture provides lifetime immunity against the Covid-19, according to its creator and practitioner of traditional medicine, Dhammika Bandara, who has not made the ingredients public.

The product was already popular among locals, and Bandara got nationwide publicity when Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi took the concoction during a televised event, causing thousands of people across the country want to take it.

However, the large gathering of people looking to procure the mixture, and the absence of a scientific basis for the so called Covid-19 immunity and cure have raised eyebrows among several sections in the country.

Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) spokesperson Samantha Ananda said the authorities have formed a committee of experts to study the product.

“The new traditional medicine (by Bandara) came into the limelight with limited scientific evidence. Proper protocols were not followed as they do with Western vaccines,” Ananda said.

Moreover, GMOA expressed its concern to the local authorities over the crowding of people at the temple as it could end up facilitating the spread of the coronavirus.

The World Health Organization recently promised to provide Covid-19 vaccines to Sri Lanka helping it to cover some 20 percent of its population.

However, Ananda said that this too is a challenge for Sri Lanka because it lacks the infrastructure to keep the under the conditions that are required for its preservation.

Therefore, he underlined that the best option for the people in the country was maintain appropriate physical distance and use face masks as precautionary measures. EFE-EPA


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