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Sri Lanka Coronavirus cases linked to 19 places, police urge full Covid-19 disclosure

DIG Ajith Rohana

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s 151 confirmed Coronavirus cases have been linked to patients directly or indirectly linked to patients found in 19 locations, police said urging anyone who showed symptoms to come forward early and reveal where they had been and who they had met.

Sri Lanka’s intelligence service and public health inspectors have been tracing contacts and the military had been quarantining or self-quarantining them.

Nothing Wrong

However official need accurate information to trace contacts.

“Please tell the truth,” Deputy Inspector General of Police Ajith Rohana said in a video statement released to the media.

“You have not mis-behaved or done anything wrong to get Coronavirus. So please come forward.”

Sri Lanka’s health ministry has also urged the media not to be nationalist and scapegoat minorities in reporting cases.

DIG Rohana said cases have been found in Mattegoda, Marawila, Nugegoda, Beruwal, Dehiwala, Colombo – 08, Kuliyapitiya, Wennapuwa, Ja-Ela, Ratnapura, Nathtnadiya, Colombo 04, Atalugama, Bandaragama, Puttalama, Wellampitua, Beruwala and Jaffna.

Most of the cases detected so far have been persons directly (F-1 or First Generation in the terminology of epidemic researchers) indirectly linked (F2) to the first case (F0), which is why health authorities say there is no widespread community transmission of the case, DIG Rohana said.

“These 147 confirmed cases were linked to the patients found in these 15 locations,” Rohana said,

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“So the all the patients were linked to 15 places and final ones to 04 places. In all there are 19 places where they are linked. That is why health authorities say there is no wide community transmission.

“It is thanks to intelligence services that we have been able to detect isolated and trace contacts.

“Yesterday the last person we found was from Jaffna who was linked to a religious service and was in quarantine.”

“The 10 persons found in Puttalam in one day were also linked to a person in Puttalam who had returned from Indonesia, when they were earmarked for quarantine.”

Testing

This was the first time Sri Lanka has tested F1 contacts who were not showing symptoms.

Vietnamese researchers have suggested that all F1 contacts be tested and F2 contacts quarantined.

If any F1 contacts test positive they suggest that F3 contacts also be traced in a fast-tracked research to be published in International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IJTLD).

Vietnam has tested 67,238 patients and contacts and later all arrivals in the country, until they were stopped.

Sri Lanka however had lagged behind in testing people, unlike countries like Korea and Vietnam. The head of Sri Lanka’s Health Service Anil Jasinghe said Friday that more testing is planned.

“We want to increase testing of contacts,” Jasinghe said. “We also want to test samples of the population near where we find Coronavirus patients.”

“We still do not have a situation of wide community transmission as yet.”

Jasinghe said Sri Lanka is aiming to keep total infections below 500 in April though more hospitals are being prepared for a spike of up to 1,400.

Vietnam had also said they are aiming to keep cases below 1,000, preferably below 500.

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Sri Lanka, Vietnam in Coronavirus battle of wits to bust the Covid-19 bug

Like Sri Lanka, Vietnam started aggressively tracing contacts early and closed the border, going against general World Health Organization advice not to close the border against China in the so-called First Wave.

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WHO says ‘no reason’ to close borders with China, quarantine healthy travellers

Most of the worst respiratory pandemics in the last century including Asian Flu, Hong Kong Flu and SARS had emerged from China.

However like Sri Lanka Vietnam also adopted a phased approach halting arrivals from Second Wave countries in Europe, with Malaysia being last. But due to large volume of arrivals (Vietnam gets 18 million tourists a year) over 38,821 are now in quarantine.

Vietnam has so far confirmed 218 patients, and 63 have recovered. Nobody has died.

Though movement has been tightened, the economy is ticking and factories are working. Vietnam also has monetary stability unlike Sri Lanka where unprecedented liquidity injections had been made. (Colombo/Apr04/2020)