Sri Lankan doctors call on the government to exert control, test people and quarantine positive cases. So far, 186 people have been infected with six deaths 42 healed. But the number of positive cases could reach 2,500. Traditional medicinal substances – coriander, ginger, turmeric – are in high demand, pushing up imports. So far 168,92 people have been arrested and 4,313 vehicles seized for breaking the curfew.
Colombo (AsiaNews) – The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) is urging Sri Lankan health authorities to implement prompt preventive measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, specifically that every person showing coronavirus symptoms be tested, and in case of positive results, treated.
In parallel, alongside western medicine, there is a growing demand for substances, like herbs, used in Ayurvedic medicine. Their sale is considered an essential service; for this reason, all Ayurvedic hospitals and shops are open.
Many people are also failing to heed isolation advisories and respect the curfew imposed on the country.
As of 1 pm today, Sri Lanka had 186 confirmed COVID-19 cases with six deaths and 42 people healed, Army Commander General Shavendra Silva reported.
Some 3,415 people have left quarantine centres after the mandatory 14 days but were asked to spend another 14 days in quarantine at home.
Out of 1,262 people still in quarantine, 44 are foreigners. The others are Sri Lankan residents who have had or might have had direct contact with COVID-19 patients.
According to the GMOA, “If health authorities fail to address this alarming situation forthwith, during the next fortnight it will be difficult to curb the spread” of the virus across the country.
The association expects the number of coronavirus cases to rise until the end of April, up to 2,500 people.
For GMOA secretary Dr Haritha Aluthge, “Those who are infected with the COVID-19 should be forced to undergo the mandatory quarantine process at their homes till repeated tests are conducted on them to prove whether they are positive or negative to the virus.”
For these people, isolation from the rest of society is necessary and PCR[*] tests should be streamlined in hospitals.
“At present, we have not found that that Rapid Test is not up to standard,” said Dr Anil Jasinghe, director general of the Health Services. “As soon as we get test kits that are acceptable, we will begin to use them.”
In parallel, Ayurvedic hospitals and shops have been classified as "essential services" and thus open. Substances used in Ayurvedic treatments, like coriander, ginger, and turmeric, are in high demand, driving imports upward.
The President Task Force on Essential Services has decided to authorise at least one registered Ayurvedic shop in each divisional secretariat to conduct mobile services locally.
Ayurvedic medical doctors are also allowed to visit and treat patients, especially those who are receiving long-term treatments.
Against this background, it is clear that many people are still not heeding medical advisories nor following orders from the government and the security forces.
“For this reason, positive cases continue to increase,” a woman told AsiaNews. “The government should be tougher; otherwise we will soon have to face an unfortunate and sad situation.”
According to police sources, as of 6 April, 16,892 people have been arrested for violating the curfew imposed on 20 March. Some 4,313 vehicles have been seized.
It must be said that isolation and curfew have left many people without work and in deep poverty.
[*] Polymerase chain reaction.