Nurses allege reduction in random testing

  • Blame same for current hike in patient numbers

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The All Ceylon Nurse’s Union (ACNU) has alleged that the number of random polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and rapid antigen tests (RATs) conducted to detect Covid-19 patients has been reduced by the Health Ministry.

Speaking to The Morning, ACNU President H.S.M.B. Madiwatte claimed that Covid-19 is currently spreading rapidly due to the failure to properly diagnose and treat Covid-19 patients. He also said that it was the main reason for the increase in the number of daily Covid-19 infections reported these days.

“From 3 January, the Government completely normalised the country and at the same time, people began to gather in large numbers. In such a situation, the number of random tests should be increased but the Health Ministry has reduced the number of tests. This situation is putting the country in a very precarious position,” he charged.

Given the low number of Covid-19 cases reported from the community and the high number of cases reported from hospitals, Madiwatte said that it is clear that the number of PCR tests and RATs conducted in the community has significantly gone down. “Almost all patients who are admitted to the hospitals are tested for Covid-19 at some point. Most of them are confirmed to be infected. This means that there is a large number of unidentified Covid-19-infected in the society,” he added.

Health Ministry Secretary Dr. Sanjeewa Munasinghe was not available for comment.

According to the Epidemiology Unit, as of 11 p.m. on 25 January, Sri Lanka had recorded 15,330 Covid-19 deaths while the total number of infections stood at 603,654, of which a total of 576,540 patients had recovered.