- Says the 550 possibly had contact with up to 19,000 persons
- Underscores importance of adhering strictly to social distancing during non-curfew hours
- Says SL now at Stage III(a) of COVID-19 which is Home Cluster transmission level
- Warns lifting of curfew could result in Stage III(b) or Stage IV: Group Clusters or Community Transmission
The GMOA yesterday estimated that there were 550 persons infected with COVID-19 circulating within the population and they had possibly had contact with a total of 19,000 others, while underscoring the importance of adhering strictly to social distancing during non-curfew hours to avoid a rapid increase in the number of persons infected.
“Considering Western nations that have been unsuccessful in carrying out social distancing, it can be assumed that between the period of 25 March and 7 April, if social distancing is not carried out, the numbers will see a rapid increase.
Thus, if the citizens of Sri Lanka follow through with the health advice that is given, we can assume that there will be a favourable outcome in the subsequent two weeks,” the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) said.
If an adverse outcome were to result, there would be a reduction in the capacity of physical resources, both in quantity and quality, the GMOA said in its Situational Report of COVID-19, Sri Lanka – 24 March (4 p.m.).
“If advice is not followed through by the public, healthcare workers would have to be subjected to quarantine due to exposure to infected persons and thus cause a considerable decline in human resources,” the GMOA said.
The association said that going by the confirmed cases at present, it was likely 19,000 members of the population may have been exposed to this disease condition, and they were now under the observation of medical, military, and administrative structures and it was important to act to prevent those who were infected with the virus and their contacts from further spreading the disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has explained four stages of COVID-19: I. No Cases, II. Sporadic Cases, III. Clusters (a. Home Clusters/b. Small Groups of Clusters), and IV. Community Transmission.
Sri Lanka is now at Stage III(a). The GMOA said that with the lifting of the curfew, Sri Lanka may proceed to Stage III(b) or Stage IV.
The GMOA advised Sri Lankans to incorporate the following safety measures into their lives and lifestyles:
Finances: When interacting with banks, social distancing should be maintained as recommended.
Dry rations: A mechanism should be set in place to distribute dry rations and other essential goods with the coordination of the Disaster Management Unit and the divisional secretariats with the assistance of the health sector, Police, and armed forces.
Fresh produce: A similar mechanism as above should be set in place to ensure the distribution of these goods.
Medications and medical goods: Necessary medications and medical goods could be given via a mobile service, which should be arranged with the Ministry of Health. To do this, a system can be set in place in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Mobitel, Dialog, and Telecom.
As the public will have to remain indoors due to curfew, they may follow the advice given by the GMOA to stay healthy and disease-free.