Sri Lanka Coronavirus curfew expanded in Colombo, Kalutara as Covid-19 cases hit 865 in a day – Updated

ECONOMYNEXT – A Coronavirus curfew in Sri Lanka capital Colombo has been widened to Maradana and Dematagoda suburbs, the state information office said, with 865 new Covid-19 cases confirmed on October 23, the highest in a single day, as a cluster linked to a fish market expanded.

Curfews have also been imposed till Monday 0500hours in Paiyagala, Beruwala and Aluthgama in the Kaluthara district.

The villages of Gulawita North, Gulawita South, Wedawatte, Magurumaswila, Makalandawa in the Wallalawita divisional secretariat in Kaluthra have been isolated, authorities said.

Sri Lanka’s army chief Shavendra Silva asked persons who have visited the Peliyagoda fish market in recent days to be watchful and contact the nearest public health officer.

Over 800 persons were quarantined and tested at the fish market earlier in the week and more of their contacts were found.

Earlier in the day several fishery harbhours and fish markets were closed after a number of fish traders who had visited the market were confirmed in several locations.
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Of 609 new cases confirmed till late afternoon 496 were from the Peliyagoda fish market, 05 from Galle Fishery harbour, 20 from Beruwala fishery harbour, 40 close contacts of the Beruwala fisheries harbour patients and 48 were from quarantine centres, Sri Lanka’s anti-Covid task force said.

Of the 256 reported in the night 39 were from the fish market and 259 were their contacts.

The total cases from the Minuwangoda and fishmarket were 3,682, with 865 confirmed on October 23.

The health ministry said the total confirmed were 866, which is the highest confirmed in a single day.

With the new cases, total confirmed COVID-19 patients in the island had risen to 7,156.

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Sri Lanka has imposed quarantine curfew in 35 police areas in Gampaha, Kegalle, Kalutara, Colombo and Kurunegala as clusters developed.

Sri Lanka is sending first contacts to home quarantine, unlike strategies pursued by countries like Vietnam, increasing the chances of the diseases spreading raising questions whether a lockdown is required in any area where authorities no longer have the ability to quarantine first contacts.

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Sri Lanka now has at least two large clusters involving a factory in Minuwangoda and the fish market where large number of visitors come daily.

Officials have said there may be cross infections between the two clusters.

Sri Lanka’s Chief Epidemiologist Sudath Samaraweera said according to World Health Organization definition the island still had infections in clusters and it did not amount to community transmission but there were risks.

Community transmission takes place when there are multiple unknown clusters interacting with each other and patients start turning up in various locations. (Colombo/ October 23/2020 – Update III)

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