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Barber shops closed, only 2 passengers in a 3-wheeler among conditions imposed to prevent COVID 19

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka imposed conditions on businesses that are open to ensure social distancing limiting the number of people who can travel in a three-wheeler to two, closing barber shops and encouraging eateries to offer only take out.

Some media reports have said that a barber was among those found infected with the disease although the Health Department has not confirmed this as yet.

In a video press release Director-General Health Services Dr Anil Jasinghe said COVID 19 will “be here for a while among us and we must not give up the good habits we have learned in these past few weeks.”

“We must practice social distancing, wash our hands frequently and avoid crowded places,” he said on April 22.

He said that Public Health Officials will inspect eateries, cafes and restaurants and anyone not following hygienic practices would be closed down.

“We are asking that the smaller food shops and kiosks that are found near hospitals be closed immediately,” he said.

He also said the department will conduct random testing for the COVID 19 virus in the densely populated underserved areas of the capital Colombo to detect any infected persons.

He added that the Health Department of the Colombo Municipality and the Ministry of Health would jointly carry out this operation.

All Colombo Municipal workers will also be tested at whatever sites they are working at.

The move comes in the wake of a total of 55 COVID 19 positive patients being detected in the neighbourhood called Roti Kade Watte in the Bandaranayake Mawatha area in Kotehena.

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A total of 1,010 residents of this area are now quarantined.

These neighborhoods called “Wattes” or gardens are densely populated with several families with kinship ties living close to each other.

Jasinghe said 12 new patients were found today with 11 detected at the Punani Quarantine centre who are all residents of the Beruwela area. The 12th patient was a person receiving treatment at the Polonnaruwa Base Hospital.

Following up on the discovery of a fishmonger who was infected by COVID 19 yesterday health officials conducted 530 PCR tests at the Peliyagoda main fish market today. Jasinghe said this is the highest number of tests done in a single location in Sri Lanka for the virus.

He went on to say that today the department conducted 62 tests on the staff of a private hospital in Pannipitiya where two patients were found yesterday and all the tests have come back negative.

The COVID patients found in the Punani Quarantine centre have been moved to the Kathankudy Treatment centre where some 30 of them are warded, he said. (Colombo April 14, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana