ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will begin to keep infected asymptomatic Coronavirus confirmed patients at home, a State Minister for Covid-19 control Sudarshini Fernandopulle said as new confirmations outpace the rate at which treatment centres could be built.
Patients developing respiratory difficulties will be hospitalized.
The state information office said 20 new patients died, after reporting a record 29 on Friday, taking total deaths to 941.
On May 15, Sri Lanka confirmed 2,386 new Coronavirus cases of which 2,371 cases were domestic and 1,352 recovered patients were discharged, requiring about 1,000 beds to house the new patients.
“From Monday we plan to begin home management of asymptomatic patients,” Minister Sudarshini Fernandopulle said.
“If symptoms worsen needing medical care they will be admitted to hospital.”
Sri Lanka had 19,944 patients in hospitals or treatment centres on May 15, the Health Ministry said.
The total was adjusted down from 24,796 a day earlier in a one off correction of patients in private facilities whose discharges were not accounted for daily earlier, the Health Ministry said.
Sri Lanka Medical Association, an association of the island’s doctors last week met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa calling for wider lockdowns to curtail a third wave that was triggering a health system collapse and also asked for home management to authorised.
“Request to authorize isolation of families at homes, along with home management of asymptomatic cases, while being carefully and assiduously monitored by health care professionals was also well received,” the SLMA said after a meeting the President.
“This should be complemented by arrangements being made for early transfer of needy patients with pneumonia, to the closest designated hospital.”
Sri Lanka is seeing high number of patients developing Covid pneumonia after a new UK variant started spreading.
Minister Fernandopulle had said earlier that guidelines were being prepared for home management of Coronavirus patients.
Sri Lanka has imposed tighter movement controls at least until May 31 involving nightly curfews and limiting persons from going out of the house to every other day based on the last digit of their indentify card number.
Home management had been followed in Western nations which saw the rapid spread of the virus, while successful East Asian nations operated both institutional quarantine of contacts with quick tracing, and institutional treatment of patients to preventing leaks and brining outbreaks to zero.
Singapore last week imposed a lockdown after 80 cases were discovered where the country was unable to find index cases. Vietnam is currently battling an outbreak with over 300 cases found, believed to have been a leak from two Indian experts, who underwent quarantine.
Unlike Western nations Sri Lanka is still tracing contacts, but they are being placed under home quarantine with the country no longer having the capacity for institutional quarantine. Most quarantine centres for contacts have been turned into treatment centres.
Sri Lanka’s current wave is driven by a potent UK variant which started spreading after a traditional New Year was celebrated in April with people going shopping and travelling around the country and holding festivals in Nuwara Eliya.
It is not clear how the UK variant entered the country, but Sri Lanka earlier in 2021, allowed vaccinated returnees to home quarantine. It is not clear what role vaccination has played in the current wave.
Since most vaccines are not 100 percent effective, infected accinated persons can carry potent strains of the disease but be asymptomatic, helping spread potent variants which would otherwise have hospitalized or kept the infected person at home observers say. (Colombo/May16/2021)