Speaking to The Sunday Morning, Medical Research Institute Sri Lanka (MRI) Director Dr. Jayaruwan Bandara said that unless strict laws are implemented to maintain social distancing, the number of coronavirus-infected persons would increase dramatically by the end of this month and therefore the Government should continue the existing curfew until the end of April.
“My opinion is that the curfew should be further implemented as it is more effective than a lockdown,” he stressed.
By the end of April, the health authorities would be able to identify almost all the infected persons and until that time, it is important to restrict people’s movement to stop the spread of the virus, Dr. Bandara explained.
However, when asked whether the MRI had the capacity to expand the current number of tests as requested by the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA), the MRI Director stressed that the institute had the capacity to conduct any amount of tests but the problem is that if such tests are conducted too early, they could give false negative results, adding that therefore it was important to wait until the clinical symptoms showed.
“The maximum tests conducted by the MRI is 118 per day and on Friday (3), out of 100 tests, only one test came out positive,” Dr. Bandara said.
Therefore, the best way to control the spread of the disease is to strictly implement social distancing with the support of law enforcement authorities rather than vigorous testing, he noted.
However, the Police yesterday (4) denied rumours that the country would go into a complete lockdown. Denying the information circulated on social media, Police Media Spokesman SP Jaliya Senaratne said the Government had not taken such a decision so far.
Furthermore, he stated that necessary legal action would be taken against those who spread false information on social media.
When The Sunday Morning contacted Co-Cabinet Spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardana, he said the Government had not taken such a decision yet and based on the advice given by the health authorities, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa would take the necessary decision in the future.
(The Sunday Morning)