Sri Lanka plans random Coronavirus tests nation-wide as new Covid-9 cluster reigned in – Update

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka is planning random Coronavirus tests island-wide a top official said as health authorities are tracing and quarantining a cluster linked to drug a rehabilitation camp.

“From the next month the number of random PCR tests will be increased,” Sri Lanka’s Chief Epidemiologist Sudath Samaraweera told reporters in Colombo.

“Accordingly every month we will do PCR tests covering all the Divisional Health Offices in the country.”

Authorities had up to now targeted the places and districts where the risk of Covid-19 was high. Up to 40,000 tests had been done under the plan, he said.

Tests will now cover all the districts in country.

Samaraweera said all domestic patients identified from the community in July were linked to the Kandakadu drug rehabilitation centre.

“In order to identify any patients in the community that we have not been identified yet, we are doing PCR tests randomly throughout the country,” he said.

Sri Lanka has controlled the spread of Coronavirus with aggressive tracing and quarantining but there have been gaps in testing.

The latest cluster came from a drug rehabilitation centre where a group of inmates who had been quarantined for two weeks were sent after release, rehabilitation centre officials have said.

Covid-19 however can develop up to 3 weeks or more later.

A number of rehabilitation staff who on leave then carried the disease to several parts of the district.

The cluster was discovered after an addict who was transferred from the centre to a prison in Colombo was confirmed with Coronavirus.

Sri Lanka has confirmed 2,814 patients up to 1830 hours on July 30, with four new persons being found during the day Sri Lanka’s health ministry said.

Of the total 600 were from the Kandakadu cluster, up to the morning.

On July 30, an official of the Lankapura Divisional Secretariat had been confirmed after the entire staff was tested.

“The patient is a close associate of a patient who is found previously at the Kandakadu Detention Centre,” the head of Sri Lanka’s Health Service, Anil Jasinghe said.

“The patient’s close associates are still being identified and are subject to PCR tests and
sent to quarantine centres.”

Sri Lanka has seen 11 deaths so far, 2333 have recovered and 467 are under medical care.

Sri Lanka is under social distancing and businesses operate under health guidelines which are enforced by Public Health Inspectors.

People are also asked to wear masks in public.

Samaraweera had warned that while the disease is controlled, there may be a few around.

Health chief Jasinghe had warned the public that that rules were not relaxed for them to go around the country on joy rides though there is a revival of domestic tourism.

Sri Lanka has public health inspector covering every house and building who battle any number of tropical diseases ranging from dengue to tuberculosis.

Vietnam which was probably the most successful country in controlling Coronavirus lifted social distancing and has seen a cluster develop in the central city of Da Nang which is a domestic tourism hotspot. (Colombo/July30/2020)