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Police – drug users spreading COVID 19

ECONOMYNEXT – The government is cracking down on drug dealers who it says are causing the spread of the COVID 19 disease as four more positive cases were reported today bringing the total number in Sri Lanka since the outbreak to 653.

The Director-General of Health Services Dr Anil Jasinghe was quoted in a government press release this evening that the four cases were all diagnosed while being quarantined at the Oluvil Quarantine centre.

They are all from the persons quarantined from the Suduwella area in Ja-Ela, the statement said.

The group in Suduwella are said to be drug addicts, and some of the Navy sailors who rounded them up to take them to quarantine became infected causing the Welisara navy camp to be closed as 264 Navy personnel and their close associates caught the disease.

The Police meanwhile made a strong statement about drug peddlers who, they said, were responsible for the spread of the virus.

“There is a strong connection to the drug dealers and drug users to the spread of the disease,” Police spokesman Deputy Inspector General of Police Ajith Rohana said.

He said that the drug users found in Suduwella had spread it to Nagalgam Street in Colombo and from there to the Keselwatte and Gunasinghapura areas of Central Colombo.

“This created a new cluster of patients,” Rohana said.

He said residents of the so-called underserved areas in urban regions must be keenly aware of drug dealers in their neighbourhoods.

“We cannot combat this without public support,” he said.

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“If someone temporarily moves into your area or takes up residence you must report them to the police. Also do not offer these people temporary shelter in your own home” he added.

Rohana also said that of the 31 clusters that were active in Sri Lanka, 27 have been made inactive. Of the four three are close to being shut down and only one remains active.

Meanwhile, doctors at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (IDH) at Angoda said that the number of patients they are treating in their COVID wards have exceeded their capacity.

The IDH has a capacity to treat 120 such patients while at present there were 141 warded in the country’s premier infectious diseases hospital. Efforts are now on to remove around 20 patients who are recovered from the disease to a different hospital, the doctors told the media.(Colombo, April 30, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana