Not increasing PCR tests and conducting COVID-19 surveillance systems might cause more spreading in society and will result in rapid deterioration of the present situation and could lead to instant boom in COVID-19 infections, Sri Lanka Association of Government Medical Laboratory Technologists Ravi Kumudesh said.
He told the Daily Mirror that per-day PCR testing had come down to 7,000 as a result of the ongoing vaccination programme.
"Lowering of the PCR tests was done wilfully, and collecting of samples too had come down. So far there is no apparent reason to believe how the number of COVID-19 patients was minimised in the society. It seems that the process of chasing after COVID-19 patients and looking for their associates were stopped," Mr. Kumudesh said.
"The COVID-19 vaccines were given only for the people in the Western Province Council areas and the Epidemiology Unit claiming that they are running out of the hospital staff to conduct PCR tests as they have been assigned for vaccination programmes," he said.
There is no scientific reasons behind for the lesser number of COVID-19 positive patients, as the vaccination programme conducted only among 800,000 people in the WP Council areas, he said.
"With the ongoing vaccination programme, it will take at least three years to control the virus in the country. For that, the country should go for a herd immunity development process. But we are conducting an individual immunity develop process. That will take a longer period to curb the virus," he said.
"To develop herd immunity in society, at least 60% of the population should be vaccinated. We have only received 1.3 million vaccines. When compared to the population in the country, at least 13 million people should be have been vaccinated to bring the situation under control," he said.
He said though the vaccination programme would be a solution, it would not be a longer process at this stage.
People should be strictly advised to follow the basic health guidelines. The Health Ministry should increase the number of PCR tests and other COVID-19 surveillance systems including the isolation and quarantine programmes to get this pandemic under control, Mr. Kumudesh added. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)