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Sri Lanka confirms 542 in new Coronavirus cluster as most contacts test negative

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has confirmed 542 Covid-19 infections in a new Coronavirus cluster linked to a drug rehabilitation centre but most contacts of staffers on leave except family members are testing negative, officials said.

Sri Lanka’s total Coronavirus count went up to 2,619 as 19 new cases were confirmed on July 16 up to 2000 hours health ministry data showed.

Sri Lanka has conducted over 5,000 tests on a new cluster linked to the Kandakadu-Senapura drug rehabilitation camps, officials said.

The head of Sri Lanka’s Health Service Anil Jasinghe said over 2,000 persons, linked to staffers on leave and family members who had come to visit inmates of the camp on July 04 were quarantined.

In Rajangana, where a staffer attended several public functions 12,000 are in lockdown.

Up to July 17, 542 confirmed cases had been found in the Kandakadu cluster.

Test of 120 family members who visited camps housed in Tantirimale have tested negative as had a similar number in Rantambe, he told Sri Lanka’s Derana Television.

In Pallekele out of 101 persons including staff and family members only one staffer had been positive.

A negative result of a first test does not assure that a person will not develop the disease up to 3 weeks or more later, but it indicates that the could not pass it on to the next level.

In Biyagama village out of about 200 persons 8 staffers had tested positive, he said.

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In Nikawewa, where 78 were isolated, all had tested negative. In Kotugoda church were 74 persons including a Christian priest and sisters were quarantined, all were negative, he said.

At a private hospital in Ragama 69 who were isolated had tested positive.

In Rajangana, he said 850 tested negative.

Meanwhile tests were also carried out in prisons, he said. At Mahara prison 150 tests were done.

He said 44 were done at the airport.

About 1,500 to 2,000 tests are done daily, he said.

Observers who are familiar with the processes in Vietnam say Sri Lanka still has gaps in the testing and quarantine process, which tends to increase the numbers.

One is the practice of giving quarantine certificate after two weeks in a centre compared to a the Vietnam practice of doing at least two tests after home quarantine and giving a certificate.

Another it the practice of testing contacts are 10 days instead of immediately.
The first test of contact is done to take out any persons who have already developed the disease and also to determine whether there was a possibility of a disease going to the second level, which then require them to be quarantined at a centre. (Colombo/July17/2020)