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194 new COVID-19 patients in Sri Lanka; total cases rise to 5,038

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan health officials identified 194 new COVID-19 patients over a 24-hour period that ended at 6am today (14), the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 (NOCPOC) said.

All identified patients are close contacts of the Minuwangoda cluster.

Of the 194 new cases, 48 were identified from quarantine centres while others were found in different areas of the country.

With the new cases, total confirmed COVID-19 patients in the island has risen to 5,038. Some 432 individuals are currently under investigation in hospitals, with 1,697 active cases.

Eleven Sri Lankan patients who had arrived from abroad returned home upon recovery as at 6am today, bringing total recoveries in Sri Lanka to 3,328.

The number of patients reported from the Minuwangoda cluster increased to 1,591, with the new 194 positive cases.

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 1186 and by October 14 to 1,591 with 1,036 employees and 555 close

contacts being identified as positive cases.

Some 379 people ended their quarantine at military-run centres yesterday, according to NOCPOC. A total of 52,090 people have completed quarantine so far. NOCPOC said so far Sri Lanka government has provided facilities for 43,394 returnees.

The taskforce further said 1,451 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.

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Meanwhile, the number of people in quarantine in 84 centres run by the armed forces has increased to 9,905.

A total of 342,343 PCR tests have been conducted in the island so far, with 6,190 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 14 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, 1,083 cases have been discovered so far in these clusters.

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.

Yesterday Pattihihottam and Periyakadei areas in the Mannar district were reopened to the public.

The Aththanagalla and Meerigama divisional secretary areas as well as the Maligathanna, Kurigama and Eluwapitiya villages have also been locked down with new patients being discovered in those areas.

Some apparel manufacturing companies located in the Katunayaka free trade zone (FTZ) reduced the number of employees working at a given time following the discovery of new patients at the Brandix Seeduwa plant, Next Manufactures and ATG company, a surgical gloves manufacturing company.

NOCPOC said after several patients were discovered from several factories in the FTZ, health authorities increased the number of PCR tests conducted there.

The Board of Investment has also requested all export companies in the Katunayaka FTZ to direct five percent of their employees to PCR tests.

Meanwhile 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 Police have asked all companies in Sri Lanka to update the employment records of their staff with the current addresses and telephone numbers so that workers can be tracked down quickly if necessary. (Colombo/Oct14/2020)

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