Corona Virus infection update in Sri Lanka-by Dr Harold Gunatillake
Whilst the global statistics for morbidity and mortality for the corona virus is on the increase, it is heartening to observe a developing country like the island of Sri Lanka’s measures, to minimize the spread of the disease, has been a great success and a model
The latest global statistics reveal that the number of countries and territories where coronavirus (Covid-19) infections have been reported has reached 115, with Panama and Mongolia reporting their first cases Tuesday. The number of overall corona cases globally has passed 116,000, and the number of global deaths has passed 4,000.
However, not everything is bleak: for the first time since the outbreak started, the
number of new daily cases in China fell below 50.
Sri Lanka, that little island in the Indian Ocean, with a population of over 20 million people, since January till now only 144 cases have proved having the virus. Only three deaths have been notified so far. The third death 72 year old man, occurred as an inpatient being treated at the infectious Disease Hospital in Angod.
Sri Lanka, dubbed as the pearl of the Indian ocean, is a very famous tropical destination among thousands. The island nation ranked as the number 01 tourist destination by lonely planet.
So, how did they curtail the spread of the virus with such astounding results in a
pandemic situation, and that’s what we are going to talk about.
Sri Lankan health system has both public and private health care sectors. The public health system is free for all citizens. Going hand in hand, Sri Lanka has a free education system until graduate school for the last 60 years. Thanks to the free education system.
Talking about myself, I had free education in a government school from the kindergarten till I graduated from the Ceylon Medical faculty. Not only that, the government sent me to UK. on a scholarship for further studies and fellowship exam.
Aren’t we all lucky to be born in Ceylon, now called Sri Lanka.Sri Lanka has trained thousands of well-qualified healthcare professionals and paramedical workforce for many decades through 9 well regulated and state of the art medical faculties covering all regions of the country. And, all free of charge. The doctors and paramedical staff receive post-graduate training and continuous medical education throughout their career.
Since the origin of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan Sri Lankan authorities started to take vigilance in stopping the potential danger. The military forces and the national intelligence service was put on high alert. The government created specialized aviation and border control expert teams, to track the movement of all inbound tourists and with a potential threat.
The first detected case of the corona virus infection was on a Chinese woman who arrived in Sri Lanka on the 19th January. Passing through the thermal scanners at the airport, she was confirmed having the coronavirus.
She was promptly admitted to the infectious disease Hospital in Colombo and was discharged after being fully cured. She was given a mighty welcome, by the Minister of Health visiting the hospital, on the day she was discharged.
So, Sri Lanka’s first case was well handled and there wasn’t any spread of the disease at that stage.
On 3 March 2020, the first reported case involving a Sri Lankan origin outside Sri Lanka was reported in Italy. As of 23 March 2020, 45 quarantine centres were opened in the country by the Sri Lanka Army as a preventive measure to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly 3500 people have been under quarantine in 45 quarantine centres which also include 31 foreigners from 14 countries.
As of 25th March 2020 Sri Lankan authorities have tracked down over 14000 people who had contacted the identified patients and had ordered self quarantine for such people.
A 22-member National Action Committee was set up by the ministry to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Sri Lanka. The Department of Immigration and Emigration also informed all construction sites with Chinese resident visa holders to restrict their Chinese employees to their respective workplaces and lodgings.
33 Sri Lankan students and families were evacuated from Wuhan on 1 February and they were brought back to the country at government expense at Sri Lankan government expense, and kept under Quarantine at a Military facility at Diyatalawa.
They were released after two weeks quarantine period on 14 February Since the first week of March, passengers coming from Italy, Iran, or South Korea have been required to be quarantined for two weeks at one of two facilities. On 10 March, 186 people, out of which (164 Sri Lankan nationals, 20 Italian nationals and 2 South Korean nationals) were placed under quarantine in Batticaloa. On 10 March 2020, 2 Sri Lankan origins living in United Arab Emirates reported with coronavirus cases were identified
So, you will see that prompt action taken by the government curtailed the spread of the infection in that little island. …