ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan health officials identified 239 new COVID-19 patients over a 24-hour period that ended at 6am today (01), the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 (NOCPOC) said.
All 239 patients belonged to the Minuwangoda and Peliyagoda clusters.
The geographic breakdown of the new cases are as follows: 86 from Colombo, 21 from Gampaha, 20 from Kalutara, four from Galle, 28 each from Rathnapura, 10 from Kegalle, 11 from Vavuniya and 59 from quarantine centres.
With the new cases, total confirmed COVID-19 patients in the island has risen to 10,663. Some 399 individuals are currently under investigation in hospitals, with 6,244 active cases.
NOCPOC said a doctor attached to a children’s ward at the Kalubowila Teaching Hospital is among the new patients.
Reports said the doctor has been transferred to the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) while his close contacts have been directed to self quarantine.
As at 6am today, 117 Sri Lankan patients returned home upon recovery, bringing total recoveries in Sri Lanka to 4,399. Out of the recovered patients, two are returnees from abroad and the remaining 115 are from the Minuwangoda cluster.
The number of patients reported from the Minuwangoda cluster has increased to 7,185 with the new positive cases identified. NOCPOC said 980 patients from the cluster have recovered by November 01.
NOCPOC reports showed that after the first positive case of the Minuwangoda cluster was discovered by health authorities on October 03, within the first week the cluster increased to 1,186 and by November 01 to 7,185, with 1,041 employees and 6,144 close contacts being identified as positive cases.
Meanwhile, the number of people in quarantine in 60 centres run by the armed forces is 4,990.
Up to 718 people ended their quarantine at military-run centres yesterday, according to NOCPOC. A total of 60,890 people have completed quarantine so far.
A total of 512,735 PCR tests have been conducted in the island so far, with 10,510 tests carried out yesterday. NOCPOC reports said, adding that the results of some PCR tests are still pending.
By this morning, 19 returnees arrived in Colombo, all of whom flew in from Doha, Qatar, NOCPOC said, adding that all returnees will be directed to military-run quarantine centres.
Sri Lanka’s novel coronavirus related deaths rose to 20 yesterday, with a 54-year-old female who was admitted to the Colombo National Hospital passing away on October 30, the state information office quoted the island’s health chief as saying.
Hospitals in Minuwangoda, Welikanda, Iranawila, Rambukkana, Kamburugamuwa, Kattankudi, Hambanthota, Theldeniya, Mulleriyawa, as well as the IDH 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.
Meanwhile, the entire Western Province is under quarantine curfew until 5am tomorrow (November 02) in an effort to contain further spread.
Sri Lanka’s current outbreak is caused by a strain of SARS-CoV-2 found in Denmark and Sweden, researchers who have sequenced its gene have found.
A team from Sri Lanka’s Sri Jayewardenepura University that also examined viruses from earlier clusters collaborating with their counterparts in the U, have said the current strain is a one that has not been previously found in Sri Lanka, after sequencing 16 samples.
“This virus belongs to the B.1.42 lineage which is found in countries like Denmark and Sweden,” Chandima Jeewandara, a senior lecturer at Sri Lanka’s Sri Jayewardenepura University who is a member of research team told Sri Lanka’s Swarnavahini Television.
“It also has a mutation called D614G, which makes it highly transmissible.”
Sri Lanka completed 12,000 coronavirus tests, the highest daily tests so far, as an expert from China was fixing another machine which will boost output further.
Sri Lanka is building more treatment centres using former quarantine facilities run by the military.
In Kegalle district where there has been a wide spread of the virus, about 1,000 new beds are being added, officials said.
Meanwhile, authorities have requested citizens to minimise travel and gathering to contain the spread.
Sri Lanka has speeded up discharge from hospital by relaxing previous protocol.
Ananda Wijewickreme from the National Institute of Infectious Diseases said under the new protocol Sri Lanka would no longer wait for two PCR tests to be negative before discharging since new discoveries have proved the virus will not be transmitted to another person after the first 10 days of infection. (Colombo/Nov01/2020)