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Inquiry into Matara Covid incident proceeding as contacts are quarantined – officials

ECONOMYNEXT – The inquiry as to how members of a Russian Aircrew had been sent to a hotel which was not a designated quarantine centre when they arrived at the Mattala International Airport, is underway senior officials said.

The probe comes as the country’s Chief Epidemiologist of the Ministry of Health Dr Sudath Samaraweera warned that incidents such as this would “undermine the good work we have done to contain the pandemic.”

In a video released to Media Samaraweera pointed out that said the hotel in which some of the crew members stayed did not have the necessary safeguards required for quarantine purposes.

Authorities in the southern city of Matara have moved swiftly to quarantine around 150 people who came into contact with the Russian aircrewman who had earlier tested positive for Covid 19, but had not been in isolation, officials said.

“The person who was tested positive had left the hotel and gone to other places. He should have been confined to his room for 14 days after he disembarked,” Samaraweera said.

The crewman and a companion had travelled in a Tuk-tuk to two supermarkets to make purchases on September 20, according to a statement made to the Matara police.

Samaraweera also said that the hotel staff had also been allowed to go home, potentially placing their family members at risk of contracting Covid 19.

Army Colonel Vijith Hettiarachchi told EconomyNext that in the hotels or other officially identified quarantine centres there are both Health Department Security Forces officials stationed to ensure that all those in quarantine adhere to the rules.

The crewman in question has subsequently tested negative and “this minimized the risk of him infecting others,” Samaraweera said. (Colombo September 25, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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