Sri Lanka suggests quarantine extension to four weeks after positive case


A man wearing a facemask walks past a mural during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Colombo on April 3, 2020. (Photo by Ishara S. KODIKARA / AFP) (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images)
A man wearing a facemask walks past a mural during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Colombo on April 3, 2020. (Photo by Ishara S. KODIKARA / AFP) (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images)

Sri Lanka extended the suggested quarantine period from two weeks to four on Sunday after a 34-year-old man who returned home from South Korea tested positive a week after leaving isolation.

Army chief Shavendra Silva — who operates several quarantine facilities — told those who are completing the mandatory two-week quarantine to isolate themselves for a further 14-day period.

“Even those who are under self-quarantine are urged to spend another two weeks isolating themselves,” Silva said.

Although not a mandatory order, local health officials have been told to ensure people follow the extended isolation, official sources said.

Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said 43,500 people who returned to Sri Lanka since March 11 had registered for home quarantine, and 18,000 of them had already completed the process.

Sri Lanka’s main trade union of government sector doctors said the country should step up testing if authorities were serious about containing the spread of COVID-19.

The disease has claimed the lives of five people and infected at least 174 so far.

The main testing facility — the Medical Research Institute — has a capacity of testing 200 samples, which the doctors’ union says is grossly inadequate.