(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – No Sri Lankan has so far tested positive for the Coronavirus disease, the Health Ministry said yesterday in its latest assessment of the impact of the potentially deadly disease on the country. The only ‘positive’ case so far has been the Chinese woman who was swiftly treated at the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH), Mulleriyawa and is now listed as ‘recovering’, although the Health authorities are still keeping her under observation in hospital.
Health Ministry officials, while quietly confident of the national health system’s ability to ultimately contain this virus threat within Sri Lanka, nevertheless stress that the disease threat has yet to run its course before the situation can be considered as returning to normalcy.
‘2019-nCoV’, is the scientific name given to the new strain of the Coronavirus disease that is currently causing a major health crisis in parts of China and some other parts of the world, including several Western countries where ‘positive’ cases have been detected, such as in the United States.
The only confirmed coronavirus patient in Sri Lanka, a female Chinese tourist is still receiving treatment at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID/IDH) while the total number of individuals under observation is 18, Health Ministry spokesman said.
According to the Spokesman, in the current Sri Lankan context, there is no scientific justification for the public, including children to wear face masks. The only positive case found was a Chinese tourist who is expected to be discharged after obtaining the final medical report for ‘Coronavirus free status’.
The 33 students who returned from Wuhan city are reported to be in good health, but are still under quarantine at the Diyatalawa Army Base.
“Twelve hospitals around the country have been identified as treatment centres for those patients who may have been exposed to the coronavirus. They are the NIID/IDH, Teaching Hospital (TH) Ragama, DGH Gampaha, DGH Negombo, National Hospital Kandy, TH Karapitiya, TH Anuradhapura, TH Jaffna, TH Kurunegala, PGH Ratnapura, TH Batticaloa, PGH Badulla etc are among them,” he said.
“Sri Lankan student returnees from China and people who recently visited China for other purposes during the last 14 days are advised to stay in their homes with minimal contacts from the day of arrival in Sri Lanka. All of them are regularly monitored by the MOHs and PHIs of the relevant areas,” he added.
Epidemiologists advise the public to wash their hands frequently, avoid close contact with people suffering from the flu, avoid contact with live or dead animals, always cover the nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing (with disposable tissue/cloth or hand), not to touch mouth/nose/ eyes unnecessarily and to avoid crowded places as much as possible in order to avoid Coronavirus infection.