Oct 24, 2020

Confirming community spread made problematic due to military tactics- Ravi Featured

Ravi Kumudesh , President of the Association of Government Medical Laboratory Technologists, says that the criteria on community medical science needed to prove that the COVID-19 pandemic has not reached the community spread stage in Sri Lanka has not been fulfilled.

He said this in an inquiry made by Sri Lanka Mirror.

He also revealed that there is a problem in declaring that this is a community spread as the security forces continue to build links to clusters using intelligence and military tactics.

However, he pointed out that since it is not allowed to be tested for COVID-19 antibodies in Sri Lanka, it is not possible to obtain data on naturally cured cases.

As the intelligence can only track the spread of COVID-19 based on PCR test results , there can be undetected cases due to lack of data and those cases could be spread across the country.

Kumudesh also said that when preparing the public and countries for the COVID-19 pandemic according to  the World Health Organization's basic parameters for COVID-19 pandemic control, we must be prepared for the "most dangerous situation" .

He further stated that by repeatedly declaring that there is no community spread, there is a high probability of the situation becoming worse as people turn their attention to the clusters and resort to a relaxed safety policy based on their own general assumptions.

Kumudesh further said the best course of action, both scientifically and practically, is to treat this as a "community spread", especially as decisions are not made by the general public based on intelligence information or tactics.

"Therefore, we urge the public not only to focus on clusters or Gampaha, but also to take appropriate health and safety measures considering the possibility of transmission of the disease to anyone around them and raise awareness in this regard " ,he said.

The following COVID-19 diagnostic laboratory test flow chart illustrates the correct way in which tests should be performed to accurately diagnose a community spread and to diagnose the infection, as well as the importance of its antibody test.

Figure 1: COVID-19 Diagnosis Laboratory Test Flow Chart

About 80% of COVID-19infections are considered to be asymptomatic or can be cured naturally with minimal symptoms, so PCR tests cannot identify such patients, reports say.

However, theAssociation of Government Medical Laboratory Technologists says that a significant number of unidentified patients in the community can be unknowingly avoided due to the fact that people in random are not subjected to antibody tests as described above.

Since these data are not obtained by the intelligence services, it is said that it is essential to prevent the spread of the disease by assuming that there may be asymptomatic people anywhere around you at any time.

That is to say, it is more practical to prepare for the disease and prepare the country, considering that the disease has spread across the society  than to collect data to prove that the disease has not reached the community spread stage.