By Vyshnavy Velrajh
Health authorities are expecting more deaths in the days ahead due to the latest coronavirus outbreak in Sri Lanka.
Chief Epidemiologist of the Ministry of Health Dr. Sudath Samaraweera told Colombo Gazette that more coronavirus cases linked to the Minuwangoda and Peliyagoda clusters are currently being detected across the country.
The Peliyagoda cluster is reportedly different to the Minuwangoda cluster, as the spread reach is higher than other clusters detected before. This is due to the Peliyagoda fish market being the central point of distribution of fish to other parts of the country.
Stating that PCR tests are being conducted to detect more patients linked to the Peliyagoda cluster and the quarantine process is also being implemented, Dr. Samaraweera said health authorities believe they can contain the virus in the future.
He further said that the Health Ministry is also working towards validating the Antigen test for COVID-19 in order to help detect more coronavirus patients in the country. The test is different to that of the PCR test currently followed and provides rapid results in comparison to the PCR test.
This comes in addition to the measures taken to home quarantine first contacts of confirmed coronavirus patients in a bid to contain the spread of the virus, he said.
When inquired on the capacity of hospital beds and the healthcare sector, the Chief Epidemiologist of the Health Ministry said Sri Lanka has adequate hospital beds to treat infected patients.
Dr. Sudath Samaraweera explained that initially Sri Lanka was facing a shortage of hospital beds as asymptomatic patients had also been admitted to hospitals along with patients requiring medical care.
However, health authorities have now taken measures to place asymptomatic coronavirus patients in non-hospital facilities, while patients requiring medical care will be admitted to hospitals for treatment, he said.
This decision has been taken as almost half the population of the country has been infected following the outbreak reported at the Peliyagoda fish market and will provide the adequate beds required for serious coronavirus patients.
Dr. Samaraweera said that this has been identified as an effective measure, as it was the same process that was implemented to contain the outbreak reported at the Kandakadu and Senapura Rehabilitation Centres. (Colombo Gazette)