ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s daily confirmed Coronavirus cases has hit a new high of 1,662 with 1,636 coming from the community, Heath Ministry data showed, amid warnings that hospital workers were getting rapidly fatigued from a flood of Covid-19 cases.
Eleven persons were confirmed to have died from Coronavirus on April 30.
There were reports of confirmed patients waiting at home with no ambulances coming to pick them up.
“Quite apart from moving to home quarantine because we do not have facilities for institutional quarantine, we now do not have facilities for institutional treatment of Covid-19 patients,” Assistant Secretary of the Government Medical Officers Association Naveen de Soysa warned.
“Sri Lanka has a ministry for Covid – may be the only country in the world. What have they done?”
Sri Lanka has a penchant for creating new ministry from one administration to another and within administrations.
Authorities say they are expanding treatment centres and health facilities.
“We have now prepared a hospital of 1,700 beds which will be handed over to the health service,” Sri Lanka’s Army Chief Shavendra Silva who heads the island’s anti-Covid task force said.
“We also have another 5,000 beds of space which we can also provide.”
General Silva said there were quarantine facilities for 10,000 persons which could also be converted to treat Covid-19 patients.
“Even though they are not existing hospitals, we can provide new hospitals or treatment centres for every patient,” he said.
Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, after touring a new intensive care unit built and Kothelawala Defence University Hospital asked for a team of doctors, 80 ICU nurses and support staff to be assigned from the Health Ministry to the new facility.
Before Friday’s total 9,842 patients were in hospitals around the country with another 1,074 suspected cases.
About 500 patients were released on Friday.
“Spare ICU capacity is now zero,” GMOA’s de Soysa said. “If these beds are available we ask for patients to be send to these beds. Some patients are at home.
“Especially in Colombo, Kaluthara, Gampaha, Kandy, Hambantota and Matale districts large clusters are developing.”
Doctors also warn that health workers were also getting rapidly fatigued.
“Health workers are getting fatigued,” Secretary of the GMOA, Shenal Fernando said. “The true picture has to be revealed to the public. If we do not do it they will continue to go on weekend trips.”
Sri Lanka announced new surgical lockdowns in several areas of Kaluthara, Badulla, Moneragala and Elahera areas on Friday.
However the head of Sri Lanka Public Health Inspectors Union Upul Rohana called for a wider lockdown.
“We need a wider lockdown,” he said. “There are lots of sub-clusters popping up with unknown index cases. If not a lockdown at least movement restrictions must be placed.”
Rohana had warned before New Year that there could be large clusters in the way people celebrated the New Year and went shopping as controls were relaxed.
The New Year Cluster has rapidly expanded driven by a UK Coronavirus variant. It is not clear how it came to the country but authorities had earlier relaxed quarantine for returnees, especially vaccinated arrivals. Vaccination is not foolproof however.
Rohana said some officials and formal and informal local leaders and politicians were obstructing the work of PHIs.
Sri Lanka’s Chief Epimiologist Sudath Samaraweera has said that around 65 to 75 persons who had been vaccinated once with AstraZeneca had developed the disease.
Meanwhile testing there is a backlog in testing, but the volume has been increaed State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control Sudarshini Fernandopulle said.
About 8 percent of the tests are turning positive.
On May 29 23, 730 PCR tests yesterday and identified 1,531 cases. (Colombo/Apr30/2021)