Sri Lankan health expert urges lockdown extension amid surge in infections

Sri Lankan health expert urges lockdown extension amid surge in infections

Sri Lankan health expert urges lockdown extension amid surge in infections

Written by Staff Writer

27 Apr, 2020 | 3:50 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): A Sri Lankan health expert has urged authorities to extend the lockdown style curfew for at least another two weeks, citing flaws in the government’s strategy to contain the virus.

“If accountability meant anything in this country, there would have been consequences for those involved in setting the health response,” Dr Ravi Rannan-Eliya, the Executive Director at the Institute of Health Policy (IHP), a non-profit oriented private funded organisation, said in an online article.

Sri Lanka has been hit by a sudden surge in novel coronavirus infections, with the last three days accounting for 155 of the total 557 cases in the country.

The IHP Executive Director outlined that the government has failed to achieve the objectives of the curfew which include: limiting the virus to arrivals; detect, trace and isolate new cases; and to reduce the spread of the virus from person to person.

“At the very minimum, we need the capacity to do an average of 5,000–6,000 tests each day,” Dr Rannan-Eliya said echoing the world health organizations call to scale up testing.

He stressed that 220 new infections were reported since April 17, among which all new cases involve the local transmission of the virus.

The medical expert highlighted the need to maintain the curfew for another two weeks or longer, until authorities “have isolated the contacts of all known cases”, and ensured that “explosive undetected spread will not occur if the lockdown is lifted”.

Curfew for 19 districts is to be lifted for intermittent periods starting from Tuesday, while restrictions in the high-risk districts of Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara and Puttalam will be lifted on May 4.

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