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How a Prison inmate became infected with COVID 19 is still a mystery – officials

ECONOMYNEXT – Officials are still trying to figure out how an inmate at the Kandakadu Rehabilitation Centre for addicts was infected with the COVID 19 virus.

The inmate was detected at the Welikada Prison hospital yesterday, making the authorities send a total of 204 persons, inclusive of prison inmates and Prison Officers into various quarantine centres yesterday and today.

They included inmates and staff from the Polonnaruwa, Welikada and Pallekelle jails, a statement from the Task Force to Prevent COVID 19 said.

They are all persons the infected inmate may have come into contact with.

Having a COVID 19 patient in Sri Lanka’s grossly overcrowded Prison is a nightmare the authorities do not want to deal with.

Yesterday Prison officials closed off the prison for family visits prompting demonstrations outside the Welikada jail.

Meanwhile it is yet not clear how the inmate became infected.

“We are still investigating that,” Colonel (Media) Vijitha Hettiarachchi who speaks for the Task Force told EconomyNext.

“There are many possibilities as some foreign returnees who also are suspected drug addicts and needed rehabilitation were present at the facility,” he said.

Sri Lanka has not seen a community transmitted case since April 30, according to the Epidemiological Unit of the Department of Health Services. (Colombo, July 8, 2020)

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Reported by Arjuna Ranawana