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Residents of areas without Coronavirus curfew should try to stay at home: Sri Lanka Chief Epidemiologist

ECONOMYNEXT – Residents of areas where there is no Coronavirus curfew should stay at home as much as possible in the near future as there was a danger of getting the disease from others and themselves being asymptomatic Covid-19 carriers, a health official said.

“In the isolated areas we are trying to bring movements to almost zero and stop the spread of the disease,” Chief Epidemiologist Sudath Samaraweera said.

“It does not mean other areas are safe or that we can act as we had done before. Patients are being reported from many areas as extensions to the fish-market cluster as sporadic and groups.

“There are also patients being reported from many institutions. They live in many areas. So this disease can go to many areas when the disease is found in an institution.”

“You yourself can be an asymptomatic patient and the person you meet when you go out of the house, whether a known person or a stranger could be an infected person.”

“Only one person should leave the house,” Samaraweera said.

Sri Lanka has asked members of the public to write down their name at supermarkets and buses sharing pens and placing their palm on the books. It is not clear how much of a risk the activity is.

He asked the public to wear a mask, wash hands before leaving home, entering a place.

Sri Lanka health officials at one time asked people not to wear a mask going by World Health Organization advise when East Asian nations such as Vietnam, Korea and Cambodia mandated masks with the presence of small clusters.

Sri Lanka had now also dropped institutionalized quarantine of first contacts unlike the most successful nations in East Asia that kill outbreaks to zero in about a month with minimal or zero deaths.

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When F1 contacts are home quarantined there is a risk that they will spread the disease to family members (F2 contacts) even when contact tracers get to them before the incubation period passes.

Samaraweera said in the in the case of home quarantine both levels are under quarantine.

Samaraweera had said earlier that institutionalized quarantine would be provided for those with elderly family members with underlying conditions.

The contact should use the bathroom last and wash taps with soap and avoid meeting other members of the others.

“In the case of home quarantine not only the contact but the rest of the family is also under quarantine,” Samaraweera said.

“In the case of someone that has contracted Covid-19 and has been released from hospital, only that person is under quarantine, other members are not under quarantine.

People under quarantine cannot move out of the house.

He said a PCR test would be done on the close contact at the end of the quarantine period.

“If the test is negative, the rest of the family will also be released from quarantine” he said. “If he is positive, the other members must quarantine for another 14 days.”

“Even if you are in the house please maintain your distance. Neighbhours can also help by giving some food and with encouragement.”

Around 80,000 persons are under home quarantine. (Colombo/Nov08/2020)

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