Sri Lanka hunting Covid-19 contacts in Malindo Air flight as Coronavirus toll climbs
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is searching for 36 passengers who had arrived in Sri Lanka in Malindo Air 0D-185 flight on March 17, after one person in the aircraft was confirmed to have Coronavirus, Army Chief Shavendra Silva said.
The person had returned in the Kuala Lumpur – Colombo flight after a tour in Thailand and Indonesia.
“Another 36 persons had come in this aircraft with him,” General Silva said. “If you came with him, you should be in self-quarantine because your fellow traveler has been confirmed to have COVID-19.”
Deputy Inspector General Ajith Rohana said 2,913 persons who arrived in the country between March 16 and March 19, had registered with the police.
He said authorities appreciated the response but action will be taken under Sri Lanka’s quarantine law against persons who had not registered.
Ten contacts of the person in Puttalam were among 10 confirmed to have Coronavirus on March 31.
They turned out to have Coronavirus after 19 contacts were tested at the request of the military, despite not having any symptoms.
Sri Lanka’s Government Medical Officers Association has called for random screening, to begin with blood tests which give results fast.
GMOA Chief Anurudda Padeniya said there were blood tests costing around 1,000 rupees which could be deployed as cases may start to climb in April unless action was taken.
Sri Lanka has confirmed 146 persons with Coronavirus so far and 21 have recovered including a Wave I case from Wuhan China.
On April 01, three persons were confirmed with COVID-19 from Jaffna, Maradana and Kurunegala. There are no details about the person in Kurunegala yet.
Sri Lanka recorded the third death COVID-19 on April 01st when the person from Maradana passed way.
He had gone to the Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital in Thalapathpitiya, a cost recovery state hospital.
The staff at the Emergency Treatment Unit were dressed in protective gear and had kept him isolated while the results of a test came back, Director of the hospital Rathnasiri Hewage told Sri Lanka’s Derana TV.
The 73-year old had been transferred to the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Mulleriyawa but had died on admission.
UK’s National Health Service has established hotlines and a online call center and all patients are now required to call ahead and not to come to a hospital direct, whether or not they are suffering from Coronavirus symptoms.
General Silva said out of the 21 confirmed on March 21, 03 were from Akurana in Kandy, 10 from Puttalam and 06 from Beruwala.
“The persons in these areas should be very careful,” he said. “Not only should they be in-home quarantine but everyone should maintain social distance.”
On April 02, pensioners are allowed to go to the bank to get their payments with the help of the military. They are being requested to call the Grama Sevaka (village headman) to get assistance to go to the bank.
Pharmacies would also be open for them to get medicine.
Sri Lanka has been aggressively hunting contacts and quarantining them in March.
Sri Lanka stopped all inbound travelers from March 19, after selectively quarantining Wave II arrivals from Korea and Europe. SriLankan Airlines said it will stop outbound passenger flights from April 07. Cargo flights would continue.
Sri Lanka quarantined arrivals from China in the Wave I phase, along with Korea, going against the general World Health Organization advice not to close borders against China at the time.
Sri Lanka, Russia, Korea and Vietnam are among countries that are aggressively hunting Wave II infections after successfully containing Wave I from China.
Sri Lanka however is lagging behind in random testing and also testing suspected cases.
Vietnam has so far conducted over 67,000 tests of which 218 had been confirmed. After repeated test 15,000 have been excluded.
Vietnam has engaged in surgical lockdowns and kept the economy ticking, though inter-provincial travel is being tightened. The State Bank of Vietnam has also maintained monetary stability, while Sri Lanka has printed money and undermined confidence in the currency.
Vietnam also quarantined ‘healthy’ arrivals from China going against WHO general advice from early on and extended it to other foreigners and Vietnamese citizens during Wave II.
Most 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, originated in 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 worldwide. (Colombo/Apr01/2020-sb)