SLMA on Covid-19: Contact tracing key for controlling

By Sarah Hannan

Although it is understood that Covid-19 will not be eliminated in weeks or months, the spread of the virus can be controlled if contact tracing is done effectively while the necessary health guidelines are followed to quarantine them and test immediately, Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) President Prof. Indika Karunathilake said.

“We need to understand that Covid-19 will not be eliminated in the next few days. Therefore, as a country, we need to be prepared to commence our country’s work even with the threat of the virus. The measures that are currently in place to prevent the virus from spreading to a larger section of the community is sufficient but can be further improved depending on how the situation evolves.”

Prof. Karunathilake meanwhile pointed out that the two main clusters currently of concern, which originated from the Bandaranayake Mawatha in Colombo 12 and the Welisara Navy Camp, would set a great example on how virulent the disease is and that the full impact of it could be observed over the next week, with more patients being tested positive for Covid-19.

“The measures the health authorities have taken in contact tracing, identifying first-level contacts, placing them in quarantine, and increasing the amount of PCR tests carried out has enabled them to control the situation and prevent the virus from spreading further,” he added.

Increasing the number of tests carried out for the first contacts too has allowed the authorities to identify more persons infected by the virus. He further noted that although the number of active cases seem to increase, people should be mainly concerned about the first-level contacts that had moved with the patients, but if these contacts are identified and placed under quarantine, the public need not worry.