Inter-provincial travel restrictions pointless – CMLSSL
By Dilanthi Jayamanne
The College of Medical Laboratory Science Sri Lanka (CMLSSL) said there was no point in keeping inter-provincial travel restrictions in place without a random cluster testing mechanism to continue assessing the COVID-19 situation in the country.
CMLSSL President, Ravi Kumudesh when contacted to query about the Government’s decision to lift travel restrictions that have been in place for the past several months, said there was no point in continuing with the interprovincial travel restrictions unless a mechanism was established to randomly test persons from time to time to keep tabs on the situation of the virus.
“Currently, no one knows the reason for the decrease in the number of deaths, whether it is the reduction of critical COVID patients, the vaccine which is doing its work, or a spontaneous occurrence.
But initiating random cluster testing such as in marketplaces, fishing, industrial and even the schools where the vaccination of children in the 18 to 19 year age group has commenced would give an idea of the present situation. If two tests conducted within a span of a few weeks was nil in the school, then a decision could be taken to open the other sections of those schools,” Kumudesh said. Prompt action can be taken with such precautionary measures in place.
In that case, there would be no necessity for interprovincial travel restrictions. Also, if there was even a minor doubt as to whether green areas were turning amber, then prompt action can be taken to impose restrictions in that particular locality, rather than restricting travel in the entire country.
Also, the Health Ministry’s decision to waive on-arrival PCR tests has also been an open invitation for a more dangerous variant to enter the country. Like in New Zealand, where random testing continues despite its ‘0’ positivity rate, Sri Lanka too should be able to keep an eye on the possible risk. “We should have the ability to give a prediction for any sample in order to prevent another public emergency,” he added.