PCR test results of most returnees faulty

By Vyshnavy Velrajh

PCR test results of most Sri Lankans returning to the country have been found to be faulty.

This has resulted in Sri Lankans being allowed to return to the country based on certificates provided by them from tests conducted at their place of origin.

Army Commander General Shavendra Silva said that a significant number of Sri Lankans who had returned from overseas recently have tested positive for COVID-19.

He said that 70 Sri Lankans who had returned from overseas had tested positive on Sunday.

General Silva said that the Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry has raised concerns in this regard.

Chief Epidemiologist of the Health Ministry Dr. Sudath Samaraweera haspointed out that a majority of PCR tests with negative results conducted 72 hours prior to arrival are being diagnosed as positive upon arrival in Sri Lanka.

Dr. Samaraweera has noted that some PCR tests conducted overseas are faulty and so he has advised the National operations Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 (NOCPC) to address the situation.

Accordingly, General Shavendra Silva said that attention has been focused on the matter.

He said a decision has been taken to advise Sri Lankan overseas missions to approve only reputed hospitals to conduct PCR tests for Sri Lankans opting to return home.

General Shavendra Silva pointed out that in Sri Lanka only approved hospitals can conduct PCR tests and so Sri Lankan missions overseas should also introduce a similar system.

He said if this method is not introduced then it could result in faulty PCR test results and pose a risk for other passengers travelling in the same flight as that of an infected individual.

General Shavendra Silva said the Foreign Ministry has been briefed in this regard.

On Saturday (17), health authorities announced that restrictions are to be imposed on arrivals from overseas as more returnees to Sri Lanka had tested positive for the coronavirus. (Colombo Gazette)