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Sri Lanka closes schools after Covid-19 patient found from the community

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is closing schools from October 05 after a Coronavirus patient was found from the community, in the Gampaha district, health Minister Pavithra Wanniaracchi said in a statement.

Authorities had already closed Schools and tuition classes in the Gampaha district effective Sunday as the Covid 19 Prevention Task Force is “actively” tracing the contacts of the woman garment worker who tested positive for the Coronavirus last night.

The spokesman for the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of Covid-19 (NOCPOC) Colonel Army Media Vijitha Hettiarachchi said the decision was approved by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa a short while ago.

A quarantine curfew is now imposed on the Minuwangoda and Divulapitiya Police areas.

The authorities are also warning people who have travelled through Minuwangoda and Divulapitiya as it is not certain whether the patient was infected by a local person.

The patient had been admitted to hospital with fever on September 30 and was tested for Covid-19 before she was to be discharged last night, Army Commander Lt Gen Shavendra Silva said

In a media statement issued a short while ago Silva said the family members had been taken to a Military-run quarantine centre.

Other associates are also in the process of being taken to quarantine the Army Chief who heads NOCPOC said.

The worker had travelled to the factory in Minuwangoda town to her home in Divulapitiya in a company-run bus and her fellow passengers are also quarantined.

The 39-year-old mother of 3 works at the Brandix factory in Minuwangoda and “all 40 workers in her production line have been quarantined,” the spokesman

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The woman is the Supervisor of her unit.

Hettiarachchi told EconomyNext that contact tracing is going ahead apace as her husband is a three-wheeler driver and one of the children attends a local school.

In a statement released earlier in the day Brandix said the rigorous protocol implemented across the company “and the immediate response and support received from the PHI and relevant health authorities of Sri Lanka enabled the early detection of the patient, ensuring her timely transfer to IDH for immediate treatment and mitigation of any further spread of the virus.”

“We continue to assist the relevant authorities, seeking their counsel and extending our utmost co-operation throughout the process. All necessary measures to ensure complete containment of the virus have been implemented with immediate effect, including the rigorous disinfection of the affected worksite”, it added

Sri Lanka is finding a Coronavirus patient from the community after a gap of several weeks.

Recent infections have come from foreign returnees.

(Colombo, October 4, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana