ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan health officials identified 186 new COVID-19 patients over a 24-hour period that ended at 6am today (21), the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 (NOCPOC) said.
Of the 186 patients, six are returnees from abroad – three having returned from Japan, two from Russia and one from Qatar.
Of the 180 local patients, all are close contacts of the Minuwangoda cluster.
With the new cases, total confirmed COVID-19 patients in the island has risen to 5,811. Some 297 individuals are currently under investigation in hospitals, with 2,341 active cases.
Seventeen Sri Lankan patients returned home upon recovery as at 6am today bringing total recoveries in Sri Lanka to 3,457. Of these 37, three are returnees from abroad and 14 are patients from the Minuwangoda cluster.
The number of patients reported from the Minuwangoda cluster has increased to 2,344 with the new 180 positive cases identified.
NOCPOC reports showed that after the first positive case of the Divulapitiya cluster was discovered by health authorities on October 03, within first week the cluster increased to 1,186 and by October 21 to 2,344 ,with 1,041 employees and 1,303 close contacts being identified as positive cases.
Some 510 people ended their quarantine at military-run centres yesterday, according to NOCPOC. A total of 55,432 people have completed quarantine so far.
So far, the government has provided quarantine facilities for 43,444 returnees.
NOCPOC said 1,457 returnees to the island have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, while 79 foreigners have also been identified so far by authorities as COVID-19 positive cases.
Meanwhile, the number of people in quarantine in 74 centres run by the armed forces is 8,323.
A total of 398,196 PCR tests have been conducted in the island so far, with 8,323 tests carried out yesterday. NOCPOC reports said, adding that the results of some PCR tests are still pending.
Chief Epidemiologist of the Ministry of Health’s Epidemiology Unit Doctor Sudath Samaraweera said PCR tests of all employees at the Minuwangoda Brandix apparel plant have been completed. Health officials are continuing to test close contacts of the employees and other residents in the Minuwangoda area.
Sri Lanka as at October 21 records 13 COVID-19 related deaths.
Officials said the COVID-19 Prevention Task Force is currently investigating three-clusters of possible novel coronoavirus patients related to the discovery of the patient in Divulapitiya, and, as of now, 2,344 cases have been discovered so far in these clusters.
Sri Lanka police imposed quarantine curfew in Kuliyapitiya, Pannala Giriulla, Narammala and Dummalasuriya police jurisdictions with immediate effect from yesterday, Army Commander Lt Gen Shavendra Silva said in a statement.
The towns of Minuwangoda, Divulapitiya, Veyangoda, Gampaha, Kirindiwela, Dompe, Pugoda, Ganemulla, Weeragula, Weliweriya, Malwathuhiripitiya, Nittambuwa, Meerigama, Pallewela, Yakkala, Ja-ela, Seeduwa and Kandana Police areas are still under police curfew.
Aththanagalla and Meerigama divisional secretary areas as well as Maligathanna, Kurigama, Eluwapitiya villages and Katunayaka have also been locked down with new patients being discovered in those areas.
Hospitals in Minuwangoda, Welikanda, Iranawila, Rambukkana, Kamburugamuwa, Kattankudi, Hambanthota, Theldeniya, Mulleriyawa, as well as the Infectious Diseases Hospital and the Neville Fernando Hospital and the Homagama, Ambalpola and Laggala, Pallegama hospitals have been taken over by the health services department to treat COVID-19 patients.
Sri Lanka has conducted around 10,000 tests in industrial zones under the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka and 5,000 in those outside, State Minister for Aviation and Investment Zone Development D V Chanaka said.
So far 264 patients have been reported from the free trade zone where 211 are from the ‘Next Manufactures’ and 53 from the ‘Chiefway garment’.
Meanwhile, authorities locked down four areas in Matugama as a mini-cluster of infections were found. A total of 61 new confirmed cases were found yesterday.
Ovitigala, Badugama, Badugma Nawa Janapadaya in the Matugama Divisional Secretariat had been isolated after 17 patients were confirmed, the task force said.
Sri Lanka’s health officials detected another 12 COVID-19 infection cases in the Colombo Dockyard, a Sri Lankan shipbuilding unit of Japan’s Onomichi Dockyard yesterday.
Out of the 12, six stay at the dockyard housing scheme in Bloemendhal Colombo 13, and are residents of Ragama, Matugama, Wananupuwa, Galle,Negambo and Mulatiyana Matara.
Another 20 first-contacts found from the housing scheme were also sent to a quarantine facility in Jaffna, NOCPOC said
Meanwhile, an unspecified number of employees of MAS Holdings, Sri Lanka’s largest apparel manufacturer, have tested positive for COVID-19, the company said in an official statement.
Despite safety measures taken to contain COVID-19 infections, the company said, “a few of its employees who live in highly contagious areas” have tested positive for the virus.
Stringent measures have been put in place to prevent further spread, it added.
MAS Holdings had closed its facilities in the police curfew areas in the Gampaha district from October 4 including the MAS Active Sleekline facility in Nittambuwa.
Yesterday another positive case was reported from the World Trade Centre Sri Lanka. WTC sources said the patient is an employee of Acuity Knowledge Partners Lanka Pvt Ltd.
The 32nd floor of the WTC western tower has been disinfected and all contacts of the patients have been traced for testing, authorities said. (Colombo/Oct21/2020)