Sri Lanka asks returnees from Europe, Korea to register or risk punishment

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s defence ministry asked all returnees from Europe, South Korea who had arrived in the country from March 1 to 15 to register at the nearest police station or call 119 as new Coronavirus hotspots emerged elsewhere.

Sri Lanka began quarantining arrivals from Italy, Korea and Iran on March 10 as well as a about dozen European countries from March 15.

The defence ministry said anyone who does not comply can be punished under the Quarantine Ordinance, a law drawn up by British Colonial rulers.

Sri Lanka’s count of confirmed cases went up to 28 Monday.

Sri Lanka has stopped public events and also postponed court hearings in a bid to cut down gathering of people while trying to track down arrivals particularly from Italy that had come before quarantining began.

But infected persons are turning up from new countries.

Sri Lanka will designate new countries for quarantine if required, Director General of Health Anil Jasinghe said in a television interview.

On Monday, a returnee from India Kerala tested positive, the government said.

Large numbers of Sri Lankans go to India on pilgrimages. Sri Lanka had asked for pilgrimages to be halted.

New hostpots are also coming up.

Malaysia has reported 428 cases over the weekend, about half linked to a major event at a mosque.

“Of the 428 cases, 243 are participants from the religious event in Sri Petaling mosque,” Noor Hisham Abdullah, director-general of the health ministry, told AFP, a news agency.

Malaysia has said it is going to close borders.

Many countries are trying varying methods to contain the Coronavirus.

Vietnam has quarantined about 30,000 travellers including foreigners in multiple centres and has confirmed 61 cases.

On Monday Vietnam began to test for Coronavirus at Hanoi airport using a locally made testing kit that gives a result in two hours, Vietnamnet.vn, an online portal said.

The SARS-CoV-2 Diagnostic Kit from the Institute of Biotechnology, tested by the Military Preventive Medicine Institute is claimed to have the same sensitivity and specificity as the World Health Organization’s RT-PCR Realtime Kit, Vietnam’s Tuoitre newspaper reported. (Colombo/Mar16/2020)