Targeted and tough control measures helped Sri Lanka arrest virus spread, says Director General of Health Services
At a time when big and mighty countries struggle to cope with soaring numbers of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and consequent deaths, the official figures from 21-million strong Sri Lanka stand out — 1,070 cases, 660 recoveries and nine deaths as of Saturday evening.
Behind those promising numbers are early thinking and swift action, according to Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Director General of Health Services in Sri Lanka. The senior public health official, helming Sri Lanka’s pandemic response, along with the Army Commander who heads a task force on COVID-19, says it is “targeted and tough” control measures, rather than a generic template “based on literature”, that helped the island nation arrest the pandemic’s spread.
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Data published by the World Health Organization shows that Sri Lanka remains among the least affected countries in South Asia, along with Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar that have recorded under 1,000 positive cases so far. “We have managed this because we planned in advance,” Dr. Jasinghe notes, in an interview to The Hindu at the Ministry of Health.
In late January, Sri Lanka reported the first case of coronavirus, when a visiting Chinese tourist tested positive. Luckily, the patient had not infected anyone else. She received treatment and returned to China after recovering.
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