The Health Ministry is closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak in the new countries where the virus is fast spreading and will implement medical checks and a 14-day monitoring mechanism on nationals arriving from those countries if the situation further aggravates, a source from the Ministry told Daily Mirror yesterday.
Sri Lanka has already imposed strict medical checks and a 14-day monitoring period on travelers arriving from China and South Korea, and countries such as Italy, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and Iran are also under close observation.
"Those countries are taking strict measures, for example Italy has cordoned off the cities which are worst affected. But as a country which has no confirmed coronavirus case presently, Sri Lanka will continue to remain vigilant as we are a popular tourist destination," Ministry sources said.
According to the Health Ministry, until Wednesday evening, five suspected patients continue to be warded at hospitals in Sri Lanka, including three at the IDH and two at other state hospitals. Out of the five suspected cases, two are foreign nationals.
Hundreds continue to seek treatment in hospitals in fear of the virus daily, but doctors said they continued to be discharged after the necessary medications as they were suffering from the normal viral flu.
The World Health Organization (WHO), on Tuesday, said the coronavirus outbreak has not reached the pandemic level, but warned countries to step up preparations to deal with such a scenario, as new deaths and infections were reported in the Middle East and Europe.
The WHO's comments came as officials in Europe and the Middle East scramble to limit the spread of the outbreak and stock markets dipped on fears of a global slowdown due to the spread of the coronavirus infection. (JAMILA HUSAIN)