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Sri Lanka adds two new hospitals to deal with rising COVID 19 patients

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has designated two recently built hospitals as treatment centres for COVID 19 patients as the numbers with the disease rocketed up to 1,453 as 134 new patients were diagnosed today.

This is the highest number detected in a day since the outbreak more than double that of the previous high.

Of the patients detected today 81 are returning migrant workers from Kuwait and 53 are Navy personnel.

A spokesman for the Health Ministry Viraj Abeysinghe told EconomyNext that the increasing number of diagnosed patients from the returning migrant workers has compelled the government to find new hospitals to treat them.

The hospitals are at Hambantota and Teldeniya, he said. The Hambantota hospital is a relatively new institution built with Saudi Arabian assistance after the 2006 tsunami destroyed the older hospital.

At Teldeniya, the hospital is smaller but is also a new institution built after the new town areas of Digana were constructed.

“This is part of our plan to deal with the influx of patients from the returning migrant workers,” he said.

Although Sri Lanka has said that there is no community transmission of the disease as yet, the numbers of patients from the so-called Navy Cluster and the Middle-Eastern returnees has seen the totals rise from 271 on April 20 to 1,453 to today May 27.

The Navy cluster which erupted in the large Navy base in Welisara near Colombo after some sailors rounding up suspected COVID 19 patients became infected has up to now produced 727 confirmed cases. The virus has ravaged the base as well as spread among their family members when personnel were allowed to go home on leave.

The Navy began moving personnel who may have been exposed to the disease to quarantine centres away from Welisara to protect those still stationed in the base.

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Migrant workers stranded in the Middle-East, in particular, began returning in large numbers last week. Many of them were designated to be illegal in Kuwait due to visa overstay or without valid work permits were detained in camps and sent home by the Kuwaiti government in their own aircraft free of charge.

One of the Kuwaiti returnees died earlier this week after being admitted to the Dambulla hospital complaining of chest pain. It was later found that she had contracted COVID 19. She too had been in mandatory quarantine after returning from Kuwait. (Colombo May 27, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana