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Sri Lanka turning ex-Voice of America relay station into COVID-19 hospital

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will turn the building of a former Voice of America relay station into a COVID-19 hospital, as part of efforts to accommodate an increase in patients, a high level task force that drive Coronavirus control activities in the country said.

Sri Lanka has designated 18 hospitals to accept COVID-19 patients, but most of the confirmed patients are treated at the main infectious disease hospital in Colombo.

Mulleriyawa hospital, which is close to the IDH has also been turned into a COVID-19 treatment centre.

Sri Lanka is turning decommissioned Voice of America facilities into a COVID-19 treatment centre with the help of the military, a statement from the anti-COVID-19 task force quoted, Director General of Health Service Anil Jasinghe as saying.

The Voice of America relay station in Iranawila was built under heavy opposition from the Catholic Church. The VOA paid rent for the land and handed over facilities free of charge to the government.

VOA also handed over its old transmitters in Ekala and the land to the government when the new relay stations was built.

Meanwhile expectant mothers who are suspected of having COVID-19 are treated at a ward in Neville Fernando hospital, under the direction of doctors at Castle Street Hospital for women.

A 30-bed intensive care unit was being readied at the Kothelawala Defence University in Werahera.

Sri Lanka has only about 600 ICU beds with ventilators which are needed to treat older patients who get complications.

A small proportion of patients get severe pneumonia like condition requiring ventilator support to keep the patient alive long enough to fight off the virus without having respiratory failure.

Most of the patients die due to the lack of ventilators to keep them alive long enough.

Sri Lanka has about 600 ICU beds with ventilators Sri Lanka’s Government Medical Officers Association ha said. Jasinghe has said that broken ventilators are now being fixed.

China first notice the disease when patients with a pneumonia like condition began turning up at Wuhan in December. Since only a tiny proportion gets such symptoms, already thousands more may have been infected by that time.