Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)

Lessons to be learnt from Brandix clus­ter

- AN­TON ABEYESEKER­A THIMBIRIGA­SYAYA Winston Spencer-Churchill

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.

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