Select schools to be used as additional military camps, not as quarantine centres: Sri Lanka’s Defence Ministry

FILE PHOTO – Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

ECONOMYNEXT – Select state-run schools will be used as additional military camps due to an influx of personnel in existing military bases following a government directive to cancel their leave and return to their respective camps, Sri Lanka’s Defence Ministry said.

However, no directive has been issued to establish quarantine centres in schools for the use of military personnel for a 14-day quarantine process, the Ministry said in a statement.

Earlier this week, all tri-forces personnel who had gone on leave were recalled following the detection of a number of COVID-19 infections in the Welisara naval base.

Refuting claims that quarantine centres have been set up in schools, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Maj Gen (Rtd) Kamal Gunaratne said: “After we issued a directive cancelling all leave and short passes for the tri-forces to return to their respective bases, there was a huge influx of military personnel reporting to their respective camps.”

The Defence Ministry, he said, with the approval of the Ministry of Education, has directed the tri-forces commanders to accommodate some of the soldiers, sailors and airmen  in selected schools as their own camps lacked the required space to accommodate them hygienically while maintaining social distance, which was mandatory to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

According to the Defence Ministry, there are 54 military-run quarantine centres supported by the health authorities in the country. The total number of people undergoing quarantine, as of today, is 3, 292. Some 4,526 people who had completed final health checks and were issued quarantine certificates have left for their homes from those quarantine centres, the Ministry said.

“Tri-Forces personnel who are suspected to have coronavirus will be sent to quarantine centres. Those who are accommodated in schools are wearing only masks but not protective gear like those who are in quarantine centers,” the statement quoted Gunaratne as saying, urging the public not to contribute to misleading claims. (Colombo/Apr30/2020)

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