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Current strain of Covid very contagious, take precautions – Health Dept. spokesman

VIRULENT – Dr Jayaruwan Bandara warns the new strain of Covid is highly contagious

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Department of Health Services is saying the strain of the Covid virus that is spreading in the country right now is highly virulent and the General Public must take extra care to safeguard themselves.

The Department’s spokesman Dr Jayaruwan Bandara told reporters today that Medical Researchers have concluded that the strain is easily spread and urged the public to strictly adhere to the Health guidelines.

“It is a strain that produces a high number of viruses very quickly inside the body and they can escape and infect someone else easily,” he told a press conference held at the Health Promotion Bureau in Colombo today.

Bandara said that PCR testing is being strengthened and that two more machines have been added to the Medical Research Institute (MRI) and several automated machines are also being installed shortly.

Since the recent outbreak, the department has carried out 6,482 PCR tests.

The Minuwangoda cluster, as the current outbreak is referred to, has yielded more than 1346 cases, the highest number with the widest spread. Patients connected to this cluster have been detected in Jaffna, Ratnapura, Moneragala and Mannar districts. Most are in the Gampaha district.

Army Commander and head of the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of Covid 19 (NOCPOC) Lt Gen Shavendra Silva said food shops including supermarkets and pharmacies in the areas under quarantine curfew will be closed for three days from tomorrow morning.

Parts of the Gampaha District remain under police or quarantine curfew as 90 new cases were reported today, according to NOCPOC. Most of these cases, 39, are contacts of workers from the Brandex apparel plant in Minuwangoda which is at the epicentre of the outbreak.

Silva said that all family members of the workers at the Brandix plant are being quarantined.

Positive cases were reported from the NDB Bank branch in Colombo as well as the SriLankan Airport Cargo handling area. NOCPOC said staff in the facility are being tested.

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Bandara added that 17 hospitals have been set aside for Covid patients and “if necessary we can obtain facilities from other hospitals as well.”

NOCPOC also announced that the isolation of two villages, Pattithottam and Periyakadai in the Mannar district has been ended as the threat of Covid has ended locally. (Colombo, October 12, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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