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Covid second wave must be blamed on government not Apparel-Maker – Opposition MP

S M Marikkar

ECONOMYNEXT- The Opposition is saying the government is trying to blame Brandix for the second wave of Covid 19 infections while the fault lies with the state as it failed to carry out enough random testing to confirm that the virus was not spread in the community.

Opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya Member of Parliament S M Marikkar told reporters today
that the if the apparel maker had not taken proper precautions and is responsible for creating the new cluster they should be punished, but based on the statements given by Brandix and the army commander it shows that may not be the case.

“If what Brandix says that corona did not come from them is true, it means that the virus hit the garment workers from the community,” Marikkar said.

“Which also means even after the first wave the virus had been in the community and because we did not do random PCR tests we did not know of this situation and did not take sufficient precautions,” he said.

Despite investigations and diligent contact tracing the authorities have not been able to reveal who or what was the primary source of the virus which has now infected upwards of a thousand people.

Because of this situation, there are fears that the virus is now spreading in the community as COVID patients are now being reported from non-curfew areas around the country.

However, Head of National Operations’ Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPOC) Army Commander Lt. General Shavendra Silva said on Monday in an interview with a local newspaper that what Sri Lanka was experiencing was not a community spread as all patients identified in recent days were linked to the Minuwangoda cluster. He said no isolated case had been brought to the notice of the authorities as yet.

Yesterday Co-Cabinet Spokesman Ramesh Pathirana said that the Labour Minister has appointed a committee headed by the Commissioner-General of Labour to investigate the Covid outbreak at the Brandix plant in Minuwangoda and the people involved in order to find the source of the virus.

Earlier, this week Police Media Spokesman DIG Ajith Rohana said that taking statements from Brandix workers including key persons in quarantine centres and hospitals has become a complicated task due to the restrictions in quarantine regulations.

However, once the 28-day quarantine period is over, he said, authorities will obtain the required information including contact details as well as any precautionary measures followed at the Brandix apparel factory in Minuwangoda he also requested the contacts of the workers to come forward and inform the authorities.

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Coronavirus infections in Sri Lanka have topped 5,038 with 194 new infections found on October 13 in the Minuwangoda cluster which now has risen to 1,591.(Colombo/Oct14/2020)

Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe

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