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Sri Lanka records 124 new COVID-19 patients in 24 hours; total cases rise to 4,752

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan health officials identified 124 new COVID-19 patients over a 24-hour period that ended at 6am today (10), the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 (NOCPOC) said.

Of the 124 patients, three are returnees from abroad –  two having returned from Kuwait and one from Oman.

Of the 121 local patients, all are close contacts of the Minuwangoda cluster.

With the new cases, total confirmed COVID-19 patients in the island has risen to 4,752. Some 272 individuals are currently under investigation in hospitals, with 1,432 active cases.

One Sri Lankan patient who had arrived from abroad returned home upon recovery as at 6am today, bringing total recoveries in Sri Lanka to 3,307.

The number of patients reported from the Minuwangoda cluster increased to 1,307, with the 121 employees and their close contacts that tested positive for the virus in the past 24 hours.

NOCPOC reports showed that after the first positive case of the Divulapitiya cluster was discovered by health authorities on October 03, within eight days the cluster increased dramatically, with 1051 employees and 152 close contacts being identified as positive cases.

By this morning, two returnees arrived in Colombo, from Doha, Qatar, NOCPOC said, adding that all returnees will be directed to military-run quarantine centres.

Some 112 people ended their quarantine at military-run centres yesterday, according to NOCPOC. A total of 51,004 people have completed quarantine so far.

NOCPOC said so far Sri Lanka government has provided facilities for 43,394 returnees.

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NOCPOC said 1,451 returnees to the island have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, while 79 foreigners have also been identified so far by authorities as COVID-19 positive cases.

Meanwhile, the number of people in quarantine in 93 centres run by the armed forces has increased to 10,447.

A total of 331,972 PCR tests have been conducted in the island so far, with 3,468 tests carried out yesterday. NOCPOC reports said, adding that the results of some PCR tests are still pending.

Chief Epidemiologist of the Ministry of Health’s Epidemiology Unit Doctor Sudath Samaraweera said PCR tests of all employees at the Minuwangoda Brandix apparel plant have been completed. Health officials are continuing to test close contacts of the employees and other residents in the Minuwangoda area.

Sri Lanka as at October 12 records 13 COVID-19 related deaths.

Officials said the COVID-19 Prevention Task Force is currently investigating three-clusters of possible novel coronoavirus patients related to the discovery of the patient in Divulapitiya, and, as of now, 1,083 cases have been discovered so far in these clusters.

The towns of Minuwangoda, Divulapitiya, Veyangoda, Gampaha, Kirindiwela, Dompe, Pugoda, Ganemulla, Weeragula, Weliweriya, Malwathuhiripitiya, Nittambuwa, Meerigama, Pallewela, Yakkala, Ja-ela, Seeduwa and Kandana Police areas are still under police curfew.

Yesterday Pattihihottam and Periyakadei areas in the Mannar district were isolated after identifying new patients. Aththanagalla and Meerigama divisional secretary areas as well as Maligathanna, Kurigama and Eluwapitiya villages have also been locked down with new patients being discovered in those areas.

Some apparel manufacturing companies located in Katunayaka free trade zone reduced the number of employees working at a given time following the discovery of new patients at the Brandix Seeduwa plant, Next Manufactures and ATG company, a surgical gloves manufacturing company.

NOCPOC said after several patients were discovered from Next Manufactures, health authorities increased the number of PCR tests conducted in the free trade zone (FTZ).

The Board of Investment has also requested all export companies in the Katunayaka FTZ to direct five percent of their employees to PCR tests.

Hospitals in Minuwangoda, Welikanda, Iranawila, Rambukkana, Kamburugamuwa, Kattankudi, Hambanthota, Theldeniya, Mulleriyawa, as well as the Infectious Diseases Hospital and the Neville Fernando Hospital and the Homagama, Ambalpola and Laggala, Pallegama hospitals have been taken over by the health services department to treat COVID-19 patients. (Colombo/Oct12/ 2020)

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