ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan health officials identified 649 new COVID-19 patients over a 24-hour period that ended at 6am today (07), the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 (NOCPOC) said.
Of the new patients, one is a returnee from abroad; the remaining 648 are all from local clusters.
According to NOCPOC, the local cases break down as follows: 295 from Colombo, 87 from Gampaha, 51 from Kalutara, 50 from Puttalam, 12 from Kurunegala, 11 from Ratnapura, 10 from Kandy, eight from Galle, five from Kagalle, four from Matara, three each from Nuwara Eliya, Polonnaruwa, Mullaitivu and Monaragala, two each from Ampara, Jaffna, Badulla and Hambantota, and one each from Anuradhapura and Kilinochchi. A further 93 cases were from the community whose origin could not be confirmed.
With the new cases, Sri Lanka’s total patient count has increased to 27,877 with 7,277 active cases and 461 under investigation in hospitals.
NOCPOC reports show the majority of cases identified within the past 24 hours in the Colombo districts are from Colombo Municipal Council area. A surge in the spread of the virus can be seen in Puttalam, too.
The district-level breakdown of total cases from the new clusters are as follows: Colombo: 11,383, Gampaha: 6,777, Kalutara: 1,265, Kurunegala:405, Kandy:784, Galle: 309, Kegalle:270, Ratnapura:380, Puttalam:283, Batticaloa:79, Nuwara Eliya:164, Badulla:48, Anuradhapura:130, Matale:51, Jaffna:76, Matara:71, Ampara:174, Hambantota 32, Polonnaruwa 62, Monaragala: 23, Vavuniya:14, Trincomalee:13, Mannar:10, Kilinochchi:21 and Mullaitivi:t13.
As at 6am today, 370 Sri Lankan patients returned home upon recovery, bringing total recoveries in Sri Lanka to 20,460.
The number of patients reported from the Minuwangoda and Peliyagoda clusters has increased to 24,318, with the new positive cases identified. (The Minuwangoda cluster is at a total of 3,059 cases, with 1,041 employees of the apparel factory and 2,018 close contacts testing positive for the virus).
A total of 17,0522 patients from the two clusters have recovered by December 07, NOCPOC said.
The task force said four of the COVID-19 related deaths are contacts of the Minuwangoda cluster, while 49 deaths are contacts of Peliyagoda fish market cluster.
NOCPOC reports showed that after the first positive case of the Peliyagoda cluster was discovered by health authorities on October 21, and by December 07 it has increased to 21,259.
Total COVID-19 positive patients found among returnees to the country are 1,585.
The number of people in quarantine in 61 centres run by the armed forces is 6,731.
Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 related deaths increased to 140 with three new deaths reported yesterday. Sri Lanka recorded 127 deaths from October 04 to December 06 after the new cluster from Minuwangoda was identified on October 04.
The deceased were reported from Kotte, Kahathuduwa and Maggona areas.
By this morning, 102 returnees arrived in Colombo, 52 from Saudi Arabia, 50 Qatar while 44 from Maldives and one from Pakistan is yet to return, NOCPOC said, adding that all returnees will be directed to military-run quarantine centres.
A total of 889,155 PCR tests have been conducted in the island so far, with 14,215 tests carried out yesterday, NOCPOC reports said, adding that the results of some PCR tests are still pending.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has isolated the Hunupitiya Grama Niladhari division in Slave Island, sections of Cinnamon Gardens and the Wellawatte police in Colombo and parts of Wattala, Peliyagoda and Kiribathgoda police areas.
Hateywatte and Kokila Road in Wellawatte will be isolated from 0700 hours Monday along with Hunupitiya.
In the Wattala police areas, Kerawalapitiya, Hekiththa, Kurunduhena, Evariwatta and Welikadamulla GS divisions will be isolated from 0500hours on Monday 07 December.
Other areas in Wattala police divisions have been released from isolation.
In the Peliyagoda police division , Peliyagodawatta, Peliyagoda Gangabada, Meegahawatta and Pattiya North GS divisions will be isolated from 0500 hours today.
Isolation has been lifted in other parts of Peliyagoda.
The Kelaniya police area has also been released from COVID-19 isolation.
In Kiribathgoda, Welegoda North GS division will be isolated from Monday.
Isolation will be lifted in the Kelaniya police division, Bloemendhal and Wijayapura GS division of Wellampitiya police areas as well.
Meanwhile the following police areas in Colombo will continue to be isolated:
Wekanda GS division of the Slave Island Police area
Wanathamulla GS division of the Borella police area
Salamulla GS division and Lakssanda Sevana Housing scheme in Wellampitiya
Randiya Uyana housing scheme and South Ferguson Road in Mattakkuliya Police division
Deputy Director of Health Services, Doctor Hemantha Herath said PCR tests and rapid antigen tests will be increased to identify patients in curfew-extended areas.
“With the isolation period being extended, we will be increasing the PCR tests and rapid antigen tests in the areas to maximise the amount of positive patients we find per day,” Herath said.
Meanwhile the Government Medical Officers Association warned the health sector may collapse in the near future as a result of rapidly increasing cases.
“We see 300-400 patients being sent home upon recovery. This is fine if the number of patients we identify is also around 300-400 per day. But we find 800 or more on some days. This is a highly dangerous situation that we have to manage and contain. Otherwise it will result in a collapse of the health sector,” GMOA Editor Dr Haritha Aluthge said.
Aluthge further said officials should focus on the fact that a majority of COVID-19 deaths have taken place in highly populated areas.
“We have seen an increase in the number of deaths and it has reached a level where some days we see a death every six to seven hours. And on some days there is a death every three hours. A majority of the deaths are occurring in highly populated areas. As an example, we haven’t even assessed the situation in Atulugama yet but people are dying there. Officials should therefore take steps to manage these deaths as quickly as possible, especially in highly populated areas,” he said. (Colombo/Dec07/2020)