Colombo, December 10 (Daily Mirror) – Health officials yesterday began conducting large-scale Rapid Antigen tests on high risk communities in the Colombo district to identify if there were undetected clusters as Colombo remains one of the worst affected by the COVID-19 virus.
Yesterday alone 2000 rapid antigen tests were conducted, which included 1250 tests in Mihijaya Sevana Housing scheme and 750 tests in Randiya Uyana in Colombo 14, which are under lockdown for the past 4 weeks.
Health officials said that one member per family had to undergo the rapid antigen test and if his/her result becomes positive, the other family members would be subjected to a PCR test.
The tests were carried out yesterday in lockdown areas to assess if the isolation in these areas could be lifted.
Chief Medical Officer of Health of the Colombo Municipal Council Dr. Ruwan Wijayamuni told the Daily Mirror that following the necessary validations, the Health Ministry had given the green light to conduct Rapid Antigen tests on identified communities within the city as results could be obtained within the day. A system will be adapted where one member per family will have to undergo this test and if it tests positive, PCR tests will be conducted on the remaining family members.
This will help authorities to identify more clusters and identify which areas have patients. “This is how we detected the 60 watta in Cinnamon gardens. As during the first wave we had one patient from the area, but when we went in recently to conduct 100 tests, 11 tests came out positive. Then later when we conducted a further 200 tests, 60 people tested positive. So hereon we will adapt this system of using Rapid Antigen tests on high-risk communities, and the first and second contacts of patients as it is quicker,” Dr. Wijayamuni said.
Authorities were closely monitoring high rise buildings in Colombo as well, as residents in some of these buildings were said to be ignoring the necessary health guidelines. With hundreds of residents residing per block and security deployed at only the gates, health officials were calling for stricter surveillance in these building complexes to prevent a spread.
Meanwhile Colombo is witnessing a flat line of the pandemic with numbers likely to recede by next week if the public maintain all health protocols and avoid unnecessary gathering ahead of the festive season. (Jamila Husain)