Sri Lanka has controlled Covid-19, but risks not over Jasinghe says; as new Covid-19 cases found
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is controlling the spread of Coronavirus through several measures but the risks of the disease spreading is not fully over, and contact tracing would continue even if curfews are relaxed, the head of the island’s health service Anil Jasinghe said.
Sri Lanka quarantined then blocked foreign arrivals and then traced contacts of all infected cases that had come before quarantine whenever they were found.
“There is no wide community transmission in this country,” Jasinghe said in a video statement. “At the moment the disease is limited to clusters, through various measures we have taken.”
“We cannot say the risks of the disease had gone away.”
Sri Lanka is planning to relax curfews, at least outside high-risk areas after April 19. Sri Lanka closed the country for arrivals on March 19.
Epidiomiological sleuths in Sri Lanka health and defence ministries had been aggressively tracing contacts of all discovered patients.
“Even if we open the country, the work carried out by the health and defence ministries would continue,” he said.
“At a future date we will be able to say that the risk has gone away.”
However there may be asymptomatic cases on the loose. Sri Lanka however does not yet have a random or voluntary testing program.
This week a new Coronavirus index patient turned up, who had landed in Sri Lanka from India on March 12, raising questions about the incubation period.
The fellow passenger in her plane has had a cough and she had requested for different seat. Jasinghe said on March 27 she had coughed but since she was an asthma patient, the family had not suspected Coronavirus.
This week she had got worse and was admitted to hospital. Her husband and child had also contracted the disease.
Sri Lanka does not have a voluntary testing program yet for foreign returnees to get a test if they do not have symptoms as the state has controlled the testing system.
On April 18, four new patients were confirmed among those in quarantine taking the total confirmed to 248. Three were in the Oluvil quarantine centre and the fourth was under home quarantine.
Sri Lanka is also readying quarantine centres to bring back citizens abroad, who are trapped in foreign countries. (Colombo/Apr18/2020)