Sri Lanka first coronavirus case: 52-year-old tour guide who come in contact with Italian tourists
Colombo, Mar 11: Sri Lanka on Wednesday announced its first coronavirus case, a 52-year-old tour guide who had come in contact with a group of Italian tourists. The man has been kept at the isolation ward of the Infectious Diseases Hospital in North Colombo, Director General of Health Services Anil Jasinghe said in a statement.
The man, a tour guide by profession, had worked with a group of Italian tourists and contracted the virus, according to a statement released by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's office. COVID-19 has so far killed 631 people and infected over 10,000 in Italy. The Lankan authorities are gathering information on the places visited by the Italian tour group.
The island nation has announced several measures in recent weeks to try and stop the spread of viral infection in the country. It has started quarantining returnees from Italy, South Korea and Iran -- the countries experiencing major outbreaks of the coronavirus.
Sri Lanka on Monday suspended Buddhist pilgrimage tours to India, saying these trips are mostly undertaken by elderly people who are most vulnerable to COVID-19. The religious tour, popularly known as 'Dambadiva Vandana', involves trips to Buddhist shrines in Bodhgaya, Varanasi and Sarnath in India and Lumbini in Nepal.
As part of the government's precautionary measures, the Sri Lankan Airlines suspended flights to China and Saudi Arabia indefinitely. Last month, a female Chinese tourist, who was suspected of contracting COVID-19, was discharged from a hospital in Lanka.
The global death toll from the new coronavirus has crossed 4,250 and the outbreak has spread to over 100 countries.