ECONOMYNEXT – As Sri Lanka’s Coronavirus count spiked by 21 to 143 on March 31, linked to several Covid-19 clusters police said persons who roam around and go to hospital without calling ahead may face attempted manslaughter charges and their residences would be sealed.
The newly confirmed Coronavirus patients on Monday were clusters linked to persons who were confirmed.
Of the 21, 10 were from Puttalam linked to a person who had already been discovered two days ago Army Chief Shavendra Silva, who heads an anti-Covid-19 task force told Sri Lanka’s Derana TV.
“We identified 88 persons from his village and quarantined them,” General Silva said. “We made a request from Health Authorities to test several of them even though they did not show symptoms.
“We thought they were infected based on the interaction with the infected person.
“So they came and tested 19 persons. 10 turned out to be positive, though they did not show symptoms.
The tenth person was a tour guide in Dehiwala. Another was wife of a tour guide. Another was the father-in-law of the tour guide.
Three people were from the locked down Athaluagama village in Bandaragma.
Among other persons confirmed on Tuesday were three were from Kandy who were close relatives of a person in Akurana, Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said.
There were also four close relatives of a person who was found in Beruwala.
General Silva said movements in the village were restricted and depending on their conduct the village may be fully locked down, General Silva said.
He said another 43 persons linked to a person who came to Negombo Hospital and died had been identified over night and are being taken to a quarantine centre in the East which had become vacant.
Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi asked people with symptoms not to roam around. At least three persons had entered hospital outpatients or other departments without knowing or disclosing that they were suffering from Covid-19 over the past week, leading to their closure.
“If you have Covid-19 symptoms do not come to hospital,” Minister Wanniarachchi said in a recorded message released to the media.
“Call and you will be picked up.”
One of the clusters relates to a 64 year old person who had entered Negombo hospital after going to doctors and a private hospital. The private hospital had referred him to the state hospital. He had died the same day he was admitted in intensive care.
“Designated government hospitals are waiting to treat you, with specialized staff,” Minister Wanniarachchi said. “I believe we may have been able to save him if he had admitted himself earlier.”
“If you have symptoms, for the benefit of your loved ones and the country get admitted to a designated hospital. There are 27 hospitals, one in each district.”
Britain’s National Health Service is now asking everyone, whether suffering from Coronavirus or not to inform online or on a hotline before trying to come to hospital and not to visit private doctors either.
Sri Lanka is asking for people to maintain 1 metre distance, but Britain is asking for two meters. Some countries are also asking to maintain a two metre distance if two persons are talking to each other.
Older persons are being asked to stay at home, away from younger persons who may go out and venture out of the house only once a day for exercise.
A ward at Kalubowila Hospital had to be closed same had happened to Negombo Hospital after persons who had symptoms not taking the advised procedure, leading to over 60 hospital staff being quarantined, Deputy Inspector General Ajith Rohana said.
“If you go to private hospital and then go to the ordinary outpatients department of a hospital without informing first, it can be defined under law as a malicious act or an attempted manslaughter.
“Getting Coronavirus or having symptoms is nothing to be ashamed of. Please telephone and do not use public transport and go here and there to seek treatment. We will send an ambulance.”
“Because people acted carelessly or maliciously, considering the incident at Ragama, Negombo and Kalubowila hospitals, the health system can get crippled when large numbers of staff are quarantined.
Police are asking anyone who came to the country from March 16 to March 19 when arrivals were banned, from any country in the world to register with police and be self-quarantined before 1200 noon on April 01.
“After 1200 noon, we will use the list provided by the Controller of Immigration to arrest the people who do not register,” Deputy Inspector General Ajith Rohana said.
“Please register, if not we will seal their residences. Police will also take their assets to custody.
Sri Lanka has arrested 7,619 persons and taken into custody 1,864 vehicles over curfew breaking. He said a curfew pass can only be used on the road designated.
Sri Lanka is also readying new hospitals for Covid-19 patients, so that suspected patients can quickly get into a hospital without travelling around long distances in areas which have been designated as high risk, the head of Sri Lanka’s health service Anil Jasinghe said.
In Puttalam a former Voice of America relay station was being readied with 50 beds.
In Gampaha, Minuwangoda Hospital had been taken over for Covid-19 patients and will be readied for suspected Coronavirus persons.
In Kalutara, Beruwala hospital would be made into a dedicated hospital.
Sri Lanka is lifting a Coronavirus curfew from 0600h on Wednesday April 01 in all districts except Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Kandy and Jaffna.
Wanniarachchi said recipients of Samurdhi income supplements recipients should not come to banks but stay at home and officers will deliver the money.
DIG Rohana said lawyers and judges who go to court Magistrate and High Court for hearings designated by the Judicial Services Commission should be dressed in professional clothes and taken their Bar Association identification card.
UN chief Antonio Guterres has called the Coronavirus pandemic the worst global crisis since the World War II, an conflict that was triggered by German Pan-nationalism.
“The combination of the two facts and the risk that it contributes to enhanced instability, enhanced unrest, and enhanced conflict are things that make us believe that this is the most challenging crisis we have faced since the Second World War,” Guterres told reporters Tuesday.
Sri Lanka along with countries like Vietnan, Russia and Korea, have been aggressively chasing down contacts after denying visas or quarantining ‘healthy’ arrivals from China stopping a so-called Wave I from China from late January going against the standard advice of the World Health Organization.
At the time WHO asked countries not to close their borders against China.
World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in January 2020 that there was “no reason” for any of the international travel or trade restrictions announced by some countries such as flight suspensions, border closures and quarantine of apparently healthy travellers.
“Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems,” World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in January 2020.
The virus however has hit countries with the strongest health systems and shaken their foundations.
Sri Lanka and other countries were hit by so-called Wave II, arrivals from the Western nations that did not quarantine Wave I arrivals from China.
WHO had named the disease Covid-19. The underlying virus has been labelled SARS-Cov2.
SARS is also another acronym devised by the WHO for a virus earlier viral outbreak that emerged from China.
More than 823,720 Coroanvirus infections have been recorded in 185 countries and territories since the epidemic started in China in December, according to a tally yb AFP, a new agency compiled towards 1930 GMT Tuesday based on official sources.
At least 40,949 deaths have been recorded, nearly three quarters of which are in Europe.
Several of the worst respiratory viral pandemics in the last century have come from China.
The Asian Flu of 1957 to 1958 which is estimated to have killed between 1 to 4 million people worldwide according to UK’s Health Department data, also originated from Southern China. The virus had killed 33,000 people in the country (attributable excess mortality).
The Hong Kong flu of 1968 to 1969 also from Southern China is estimated to have killed between 1 – 4 million people and 80,000 in the UK.
The 2009-2020 Swine Flu from Mexico is believed to have killed over 18,000 people worldwide.
The Spanish flu of 1918-1919 is estimated to have killed up to 50 million people world-wide. (Colombo/Apr01/2020)