December 29, Colombo (Daily Mirror) – The Public Health Inspectors Union yesterday warned of sub-clusters emerging in some other provinces as there were COVID-19 patients who were detected there, from those who had travelled out of the Western Province during the festive season.
PHI Union Secretary Mahesh Balasuriya told the Daily Mirror that they had received reports of patients being detected from the Central Province, Eastern Province and North Western Province, and these were patients who had travelled during the holiday season from the Colombo district. Some who had travelled were the first contacts who had tested positive.
“This is why we requested the authorities to impose travel restrictions between the districts to prevent the virus from going out of the Western Province. Now there is a threat of a rise in the number of positive patients from those districts in the coming weeks or even sub clusters emerging,” Balasuriya said. He urged authorities to increase PCR tests in those districts immediately to detect more patients rather than using the Rapid Antigen Tests.
He also urged the authorities to conduct more and more PCR tests in the coming weeks rather than concentrate on a fixed number. “Other countries such as America, India, UK all detect patients through increasing PCR tests. We should not be fixed on a particular number. Even in the districts where tourism is high we have to continue PCR tests and see if there is a risk. We have to get an assurance,” he said. The PHI Union has further said that there was no decline in the number of patients in the Western Province and presently the virus was facing a flat line.
However in order to prevent a third wave, vigorous testing needed to continue in the vulnerable and overpopulated areas, especially as there was now a risk of more clusters after the Christmas and New Year season. Till last evening, the number of COVID-19 patients in Sri Lanka had surpassed the 41,000 mark with over 500 patients receiving treatment at the Punani Treatment Centre, over 500 in the Bingiriya Treatment Centre and nearly 300 in the Dambadeniya Treatment Centre. (Jamila Husain)