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 factcheck.lk 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.