Sri Lanka Coronavirus cases found so far linked to Minuwangoda cluster: Army chief
ECONOMYNEXT – All Coronavirus cases found from in recent days have been linked to the Minuwangoda Covid-19 cluster, with some third levels contacts also turning up, Army Chief Shavendra Silva has said.
On Sunday, Sri Lanka confirmed 121 new cases taking the total in the cluster to 1307, the state information office said.
Of the total 1,036 were staff members of a Brandix apparel factory in Minuwangoda and 231 were family members or contacts, General Silva said.
“When they are first discovered the patients say they do not have any link to anyone in the cluster,” General Silva told Sri Lanka’s privately-run Derana Television.
“But when we investigate, we find the links.”
General Silva said some of the contacts were second level contacts while there were also a few third level contacts. The existence of third level contacts point to the existence of a cluster for a longer period.
He had earlier said the infection was suspected to have been present at the Minuwangoda factory from around September 23 based on reports of sick workers, and there was possibility of a person being sick as far back as the September 13.
The source of the cluster had so far not been found. Authorities are also planning to revise guidelines on airline crew, he said.
General Silva said most of the new confirmed cases are now coming from those in quarantine.
Sri Lanka’s practice of sending first contacts for home quarantine led to some confirmed patients missing from the factory.
Almost all of them have now been found, authorities said.
On Sunday over 120 new cases were confirmed taking the total case in the country to 4,752 from 4,628 a day earlier.
Each day nearly 5000 tests a day are being done, officials have said.
Tests are also being conducted at export processing zones officials said. In Katunayake export zone around a dozen persons have been found, reports said.
Sri Lanka has around 10,250 persons in quarantine and the military is ready to increase the capacity, General Silva had said.
Sri Lanka has halted the repatriation of expatriate Sri Lankans to expand quarantine capacity.
On Sunday two areas in Mannar in the Northwest was locked down after the discovery of five cases.
Curfew is in a number of areas in the Gamapaha district at the epicenter of the cluster.
Sri Lanka is also bringing laws with severe punishment of a prison term and 10,000 rupees, Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said. (Colombo/Oct12/2020)