Pavithra Wanniarachchi makes healthy assessment on Covid-19 community transmission

4 June 2020 12:01 am - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}




In evaluating this statement, FactCheck understood the minister as claiming that there was no “community transmission” of Covid-19, in the period 01-20 May 2020.

According to the criteria used by the World Health Organization (WHO), “community transmission” is deemed to have occurred when it is not possible to trace the chain of transmission for a significant number of detected cases. 
For all the Covid-19 cases reported in the reference period, the Ministry of Health (MoH) identifies two specific groups as the traceable origin: (1) repatriated citizens in quarantine centres, and (2) Sri Lanka Navy officers. 

Authorities in Sri Lanka have previously enforced mandatory cremation of deceased persons suspected (though not confirmed) to be Covid-19 cases. Within the reference period, no such cremations were enforced. This is consistent with not suspecting community transmission.

In conclusion, from 01-20 May 2020 (a) the absence of detected cases from outside the identified groups, and (b) the non-enforcement of cremations, support the minister’s claim that there has been no community transmission. (See fuller account on for limitations of this assessment due to limited testing).

 Therefore, we classify the minister’s statement as TRUE.


FactCheck’s verdict is based on the most recent information that is publicly accessible. As with every fact check, if new information becomes available, FactCheck will revisit the assessment.

  Comments - 2

  • Dr Navin Herath Thursday, 04 June 2020 08:19 AM

    Your fact checking has poor scientific foundation. How many random clusters did they check outside Colombo and Gampaha . Zero .Have the health authorities taken random samples atleast 10 per district to ascertain whether there is or there is no community spread with qRT-PCR. How on earth can you assume when not even 60,000 test hav ebeen done in the whole country witha population of 21. 4 million people (approx) . If you divide that is 2803 tests for the nation for 1 million of the population. That is leass than 28 people for every 10,000 or in other words 2 epople for 1000 mostly in Colombo and Gampaha. The test numbers are too low and the coverage is zero ( no random tests in other districts and divisions) . So it is an artificial figure to fool the general public who uses no analytical of scientific approach in looking at fact. What you do is look act data. Good for fools who believe anything that a doctor says without using the brains and thinking.

    Mera Mulana Thursday, 04 June 2020 03:49 PM

    Today an American arriving on Qatar airways refused to do the mandatory PCR test and was let in to the country . Which Royal family member is it ! .

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