New COVID 19 Cluster may be emerging at the Kandakadu Rehabilitation Centre in Polonnaruwa
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka may be seeing the possibility of a new cluster of COVID 19 infected persons emerging after 56 inmates and staff at the Kandakadu Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre for drug-addicts tested positive for the Coronavirus today the Government Information Department said.
The new patients were discovered after 450 staff and inmates at the centre were given PCR tests after a Remand Prisoner at the Welikada jail tested positive two days ago.
He had been at Kandakadu in the Polonnaruwa district for rehabilitation for three months before he was brought to Welikada for his case to be heard.
The statement issued by the Director-General of Information Nalaka Kaluwewa said another COVID 19 positive woman was found in the Marawila area today.
She had been an instructor at the Kandakadu centre, Kaluwewa quoted the Director-General of Health Services Dr Anil Jasinghe as saying.
The Security Forces and the Health Services are continuing to test the inmates and the staff of the facility.
Informed sources said that some addicts who were transferred to Sri Lanka from jails in Middle-Eastern countries when workers and others were repatriated were also sent for rehabilitation to the centre.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Relations 87 Sri Lankans who were incarcerated in the Middle-East have been brought back to Sri Lanka.
It is not known how many of them are at Kandakadu.
The number detected today is the highest since June 3, when 66 COVID 19 positive patients were found according to the Epidemiological Unit of the Department of Health Services.
After the inmate was detected as COVID 19 positive at the Welikada Prison hospital on Tuesday the authorities send a total of 204 persons, inclusive of prison inmates and Prison Officers into various quarantine centres.
They conducted some 270 PCR tests of inmates and staff at Welikada but no-one tested positive.
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.
On Tuesday Prison officials closed off the prison for family visits prompting demonstrations outside the Welikada jail.
Most of Sri Lanka’s COVID 19 positive cases have come from two clusters, one at the sprawling Naval base at Welisara and the other from migrant workers returning from various countries in the Middle-East and Europe.
Yesterday another worker who returned from Iran tested positive.
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 09, 2020)