President outlines Lanka’s anti-COVID measures to NAM leaders | Daily News


President outlines Lanka’s anti-COVID measures to NAM leaders

President Rajapaksa told Non Aligned Movement leaders’ online summit yesterday that Sri Lanka supports the endeavours of the WHO in ensuring effective responses on the requirements of the international community in the context of the increasing challenges brought about by the virus. The Organization’s support particularly in the search for a vaccine and assisting countries to mitigate the impact of this virus, is commendable, he said.

Sri Lanka has been successfully containing and controlling the COVID-19 threat. Out of the total PCR tests conducted so far only 3% has been confirmed as infected. He briefed the Summit that when Sri Lanka detected the first Covid-19 patient in Sri Lanka, a Chinese tourist, on 12th February, the government established a Task Force comprising key health personnel, high-ranking military personnel and administrators to monitor the spread of the pandemic and also to take required measures to combat the spread of the virus and recommend to the government any measures the government should take to mitigate the consequences.

The first Covid-19 Sri Lankan patient was identified on March 11th. He, a tour guide, had been infected through some foreign tourists visiting Sri Lanka. Since then, 702 infected persons have been detected, all of whom, either have been treated and left hospitals after being cured or are being treated in a number of specially designated hospitals.  

The President told the fellow leaders that Sri Lanka adopted a few special and unique measures: establishment of quarantine centres managed by the Armed Forces and the deployment of the State Intelligence Services to do contact tracing. Both these measures have helped Sri Lanka cope with this pandemic quite successfully enabling the health authorities to function at the optimum level.

Whenever a person afflicted with the virus was detected the contact tracing method was used to find out details of persons with whom the afflicted person had come into contact and identify, if at all there had been a cluster. Once a cluster had been identified either all such persons were taken to a specially designated quarantine centre or arrangements were put in place to effect self-quarantine such persons. If an entire area was found to have been contaminated, such areas were isolated and quarantined. Of the 31 clusters identified so far, 27 have been completely neutralized while the other 4 are being kept under strict control eliminating any spill over to the general population.

Given an excellent free healthcare system which includes a well-established preventive mechanism spread throughout the country, Sri Lanka has been able to contain the spread of this deadly virus utilizing the public health processes. Public health authorities and the State Intelligence Services have very effectively combined to combat the spread of the virus within the country.

In order to assist the health authorities and other services deployed to combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the government declared a curfew from March 18th throughout the island and restricted movement of people.

President Rajapaksa said that with work coming to a standstill, Sri Lanka has taken a series of measures to mitigate the challenge. They include, supporting low income families, pensioners and differently-abled, day-income earners and farmers, managing the repatriation of Sri Lankans in a coordinated manner, exploring avenues of business to create new economic trends while supporting existing industries and moving forward to the use of the digital technology including to connect the farmer, consumer and supplier, delivery of essential items and services, and distant education.

The President also emphasized the need to ensure that all countries have unimpeded access to vital medical resources required to respond to this virus and do not face impediments in their procurement.


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