Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)
Lessons to be learnt from Brandix cluster
According to Dr.samaraweera a community spread is one where there is infection of persons in a community which is not related to one another. In the light of the above the latest setback can still be called a cluster. However the big question is can we preempt to some extent the possible appearance of clusters. Inevitably clusters are formed when there is congregation and close contact with persons who are positive to the PCR test. Work places, schools in particular factories, assembly lines are possible locations and so also condominiums and apartment complexes. If the Kandakadu and other drug rehabilitation camps were tested after the discovery of a large number of drug addicts in Ja-ela could this cluster have been averted or reduced?
Drug addicts could have visited their buddies in rehabilation camps and if some had the positive symptoms it would have been transmitted to the inmates. It is still not certain whether the virus could take the airborne route and to what distance and duration. There are a number of factories in the vicinity of Brandix. Would it not be advisable to carry out PCR testing in the neighbouring factories? Let us not forget the houses surrounding the Airport and the Brandix factory. It is accepted that smart testing has to be carried out, but these tests must be done taking into consideration possible linkages. The frequent arrivals and the return of our friends and siblings could pose a problem. It is acknowledged that it is a humanitarian act and we welcome them back, but there is the strong possibility that a few could escape the net and attack workers at the Airport or fellow passengers.we have to bear in mind that the coronavirus in some cases is asymtomatic and remain undetected for over two to three weeks or even more. An official from Brandix is quoted as saying that symptoms were found in some in the third week of September. Perhaps there should be grater vigilance and the number of arrivals be reduced as a temporary measure.
Smart testing is a crucial factor that could stop the formation of clusters and there is no doubt that the volume of Tests should be increased and be more widespread. As Winston Churchill said in praise of Air Force in 1940, “Never was so much, indebted by so many, to so few”. The Health Ministry and the tri forces and all others concerned have to date fought a commendable battle, but let us now consolidate and not be complacent.