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Sri Lanka foreign returnees in holding centre for Coronavirus tests before quarantine

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is to hold foreign returnees in a temporary location until PCR tests are known so that they can be sent to hospital or quarantine centres, the President’s office said.

“President also said to accommodate them at a separate location equipped with all the necessary facilities until the test results are released,” the President’s office said in a statement.

“It was decided to set up a laboratory at the airport premises in order to speed up obtaining results of PCR tests.

“Since the pandemic may last for a considerable time, President highlighted the importance of having such a facility at the airport.”

During a at the President’s office with the anti-Coronavirus task force the possibility of doing Coronavirus tests at the countries of origin was also discussed, the statement said.

Sri Lanka has been bringing back overseas workers and students who could not come back before airports were closed on March 19.

Sri Lanka had seen a spike in Coronavirus infections among foreign returnees.

In the past Sri Lankan authorities had displayed a reluctance to conduct tests in quarantined persons, looking for ‘indications’, but some of the testing gaps have been closed.

For a person who is tested without quarantine, a lone negative test is valid only for a day or two and indicates that the viral load of an infected person was not sufficient to give a positive test.

According to media reports Sri Lanka gives certificates to quarantined persons when they leave quarantine after two weeks.

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In Vietnam, the country which is perhaps the most successful in the work in containing the Coronvirus, a quarantine person is tested a minimum of five times, observers familiar with the strategies adopted in the country say.

At least three tests are conducted a times in two week quarantine and twice during a two week self quarantine.

Recovered persons are also tested after release.

Several recovered persons in Vietnam had tested positive and had been re-admitted to hospital as a precautionary measure, though none had been found to have infected anyone else. (Colombo/June04/2020)