ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has closed three hospital wards and a theatre at the National Hospital in the capital Colombo, an official said as Coronavirus cases were confirmed, while reports said a fishery harbor was shut and two more factories were being probed after suspected cases were found.
Sri Lanka’s Army Chief Shavendra Silva asked anyone who had come into contact with Brandix staff after September 23 to come forward.
Gampaha District Secretary Sunil Jayalath said authorities were trying to locate 119 workers linked to the Brandix factory in Minuwangoda.
By 2100 hours on October 10, 103 new cases had been confirmed taking the Minuwangoda cluster to 1,186 the state information office said.
Of the new cases two were staff members and 101 were contacts.
Chief Epidemiologist Sudath Samaraweera said concerns had been raised why PCR tests were not done immediately on some contacts.
He said since there is an incubation period of 2 to 10 days, officials will wait for a few days to conduct the test as it may have to be done again and the initial test is likely to be negative.
The testing day will be decided on when the person had first contact with the infected person he said.
Analysts familiar with the practices in Vietnam say a test is done quickly on a fist contacts to find whether someone is positive to decide whether to isolate the next level. It is later repeated for diagnosis.
Two wards and a theatre at the National Hospital was closed after three minor staff tested positive for Covid-19, military spokesman Colonel Vijitha Hettiarachchi said.
Authorities were investigating how they got the disease, he said.
A 27 -year old staff member was also confirmed at Lady Ridgeway Hospital, he said.
Health authorities have still not tracked down the source of the infection at the Brandix factory, raising concerns over a wider presence of the virus. Up to the morning of October 10, all confirmed cases had some connection to the factory, General Silva had told the media.
In the Katunayake Free Trade Zone 11 workers of Next Manufacturing were found, an Industries Ministry official said.
Cases were also found in a glove factory and another factory after testing started, and more investigations were underway, he said.
Random are also being done in Kandy, and after the weekend testing will start in Wathupitiwala industrial zone, he said.
General Silva had said cases discovered so far had had some links to the Minuwangoda cluster, though in the case of third level contacts, they may not be themselves aware of the exact link.
A management faculty student at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura had also tested positive for Covid-19.
Vice Chancellor Sudantha Liyanage told reporters that she had been boarded at a nearby house and three of her friends had been directed to take PCR tests and 53 other contacts had been identified.
In the Panadura Teaching Hospital the daughter of an ICU nurse had contracted Coronavirus.
Ingrain Godakanda, a hospital administrative officer said safety measures were being taken.
The Dikkowita Fishery Harbour was also closed after a fisherman in a multi-day boat fell sick and was confirmed with Coronavirus after being admitted to hospital, local television reported.
Sri Lanka is also holding a grade 05 scholarship exam on Sunday with Advanced Level exams being scheduled for later.
Sri Lanka Commissioner General of Exams Sanath Pujitha said arrangements have been made for students in quarantine in several locations including Jaffna and Kandakadu to take the exams.
Five students at the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Colombo would also take the exam, he said. (Colombo/Oct10/2020 – Update III)