COVID-19 cases in Sri Lanka reach 100

As anticipated, the current surge in cases has pushed the tally of total confirmed cases of COVID-19 to 100, as reported by the Epidemiology Unit, MOH. It is likely that numbers will continue increasing for the next week at least, but it’s a positive sign that the number of new cases has dropped on some days and the trend does not show the explosive rate of increase seen in most other countries.

பரிசோதனை திறனை விரிவாக்குவதற்கான முதலீட்டை அரசாங்கம் அவசரமாக அதிகரிக்க வேண்டும்

கோவிட் -19 உடன் 2021 வரை நீடிக்கும் ஒரு நீண்ட போராட்டத்தை நாங்கள் எதிர்கொள்கிறோம். தற்போதைய நோய்ருக்கை நாங்கள் கட்டுப்படுத்தினாலும், ஆண்டு முழுவதும் எங்கள் எல்லைகளை முழுமையாக மூடாவிட்டால் புதிய பெருக்குகள் நடக்கும். இறக்குமதி செய்யப்படும் தொற்றுநோய்களின் தொடர்ச்சியான அச்சுறுத்தலுக்கு முகங்கொடுத்து விமான இணைப்புகளை எவ்வாறு பராமரிப்பது மற்றும் தொடர்ந்து Continue reading

Government needs to urgently increase investment in expanding testing capacity

We face a long struggle with Covid-19 that will last into 2021. Even if we control the current outbreak, fresh outbreaks will happen unless we completely close our borders for the rest of the year. We must think ahead to how we can maintain air links and continue to function in the face of a continuing threat of imported infections. Vastly increased capacity to test for Covid-19 has to be part of that. It will require a significant investment in equipment, supplies and manpower – billions of rupees, but the economic benefits will outweigh the costs.  Continue reading

China reports zero local cases of corona virus

On Thursday 19 March, we reached a significant milestone in the current epidemic which should not go without comment.

China reported reported zero local cases throughout all its provinces including Hubei. The handful of cases it has had in the past few days have all been imported infections in visiting foreigners (mostly Italians) or returning Chinese. China is where the epidemic started three months ago, but it is now on the verge of being able to declare that first wave over and done with.

I wrote an article earlier to explain why the epidemic is no longer a Chinese problem. It was an attempt to alert everyone in Sri Lanka to the need to refocus on the infection threat from other countries, especially Europe. Unfortunately, it took over a week for me to get that published, and during that time the government continue to allow unrestricted arrivals from a range of countries with major and out-of-control outbreaks, such as the UK, France, Spain and Italy. As I wrote a few days ago, it is not therefore surprising that we ended up with the current outbreak with over 50 detected cases and almost certainly over a hundred undetected so far.

Cases to date - China 19/03/20

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covidsl – ஒரு உத்தியோகப்பூர்வமற்ற இலங்கை கொரோனா நோய்க்கிருமி பின்தொடர் (ட்ராக்கர்)

கியோட்டோ பல்கலைக்கழக ஆராய்ச்சியாளரான இசங்கா விஜரத்னே உருவாக்கிய இலங்கை கோவிட் நிகழ்வுககளின் தொடர்ச்சியாக புதுப்பிக்கப்படும் இந்த பின்தொடரை(ட்ராக்கரை) நாங்கள் கண்டோம்: இது மொத்த நிகழ்வுகளில் தற்போதைய எண்ணிக்கை மற்றும் மாற்றங்கள், செய்யப்பட்ட சோதனைகள் மற்றும் குணமடைந்தோரின் எண்ணிக்கையை தெரிவிக்கிறது.
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covidsl – නිල නොවන ශ්‍රී ලංකා කොරෝනා වයිරස් ට්‍රැකර් ය

කියෝතෝ විශ්ව විද්‍යාලයේ පර්යේෂකයෙකු වන ඉසංකා විජරත්න විසින් සංවර්ධනය කරන ලද ශ්‍රී ලංකා COVID සිද්ධීන් පිළිබඳ අඛණ්ඩව යාවත්කාලීන කරන ලද ට්‍රැකර් එකක් අපට හමු විය: එය සම්පූර්ණ සිදුවීම්වල වර්තමාන හා වෙනස්වීම්, පරීක්ෂණ සහ සුවය ලැබූ රෝගීන් වාර්තා කරයි. Continue reading

covidsl – An unofficial Sri Lanka coronavirus tracker

We just came across this continuously updated tracker of Sri Lankan COVID cases developed by Isanka Wijerathne, a researcher at Kyoto University: It reports current and changes in total cases, tests done and recovered patients. Continue reading

Delays in travel restrictions have contributed to the current COVID-19 outbreak

Effective, strong and early action is critical at this time to prevent a large scale COVID-19 outbreak in Sri Lanka. Despite WHO advice to the contrary, travel restrictions have an important role to play, and are the most effective tool we have since we can still hope to prevent and contain a local epidemic. Unfortunately, despite taking early action to restrict and screen arrivals from China, Korea and Iran, the government delayed too long to impose further restrictions given what the data were saying. This and gaps in implementation have contributed to the sudden increase in cases starting on 10th March. Continue reading

COVID-19: How deadly is it?

A key question is how many people will die if we have a large COVID-19 outbreak?

R0 and fatality rates

Epidemiologists look at two numbers to assess how dangerous a contagious disease is. One is the number of people that an infected person will transmit the infection to – R0 or “R nought” to use the jargon. This tells us how infectious a disease is. Two is the percentage of infected people who will die: the case fatality rate (or mortality rate).

Both matter. How many people die is the multiple of how many people get infected and what percentage of patients die. The seasonal flu virus has a low fatality rate, but it is quite infectious. So each year millions of people get the flu and hundreds of thousands die. Continue reading

COVID-19: China is no longer the problem

I am posting here a slightly amended version of the article that the Daily Mirror published yesterday. I’ve just edited that to add back in some wording that the Editor decided to drop.


The COVID-19 crisis has changed for the worse

In February, China was the problem – the rest of the world feared Chinese travelers and hoped to ride out disruptions to China’s economy. Today, the problem is outside China, and the fear in China is of foreigners carrying disease.

Countries around the world are repeating China’s mistakes. If this continues, the epidemic might infect most people in the world, leave potentially millions dead, and cause a severe global recession. We are running out of time. I explain what has happened. Continue reading