Sri Lanka rounds up more Covid-19 contacts as new Coronavirus cluster grows to 532, no curfews
Sri Lanka has confirmed 19 new Coronavirus cases by 2130 hours on July 14, taking the total to 2,665. Authorities moved to contain a cluster that expanded out of a drug rehabilitation centre in Kandakadu which had grown to 532, officials said.
A private hospital was closed after a senior official who had given lectures at the rehabilitation centre was confirmed, while the District Court and High Court in Gampaha were closed after a driver of a vehicle, which carried a confirmed patient linked to the Kandakadu cluster, was found to have given evidence.
Caution, but no curfews
The government has no plans to declare holidays or curfews, director of Government Information Nalaka Kaluwewa said.
Authorities, however, have urged the public to strictly follow health guidelines, wash hands frequently, wear masks and maintain social distance.
Sri Lanka is going for polls on August 05. An army soldier who is connected to the drug rehabilitation centre who came on leave to his own in Pitabeddera had also attended a political rally media reports. His family members have been isolated and another 60 in the village had been quarantined at home.
One of the confirmed camp counsellors had also attended, a political rally report said. Sri Lanka’s elections chief had asked politicians to strictly follow regulations.
Those in-home quarantines would also be allowed to vote after 1600hours on polling day, elections officials said.
The head of Sri Lanka’s Health Service, Anil Jasinghe, said in a statement the wife and father-in-law of a counsellor of the Kandakadu rehabilitation centre and another person from Rajangana were confirmed which is under lockdown.
On July 14, five were from inside the Kandakadu drug habilitation centre, four were from the Senapura rehabilitation centre, four were from those recalled from Katukeliyawa, another four from the Norochcholai quarantine centre, and one from Lankapura, he told Sri Lanka’s privately-owned Derana Television.
There were also four foreign returnees from Oman and two from the UAE.
The total from the Kandakadu-Senapura cluster had grown to 532 and hundreds were in quarantine and self-quarantine and were being tested, he said.
About 25 were staffers and family members who were outside, but others were all inside the rehabilitation camps in Kandakadu and Senapura, he said.
“There is no requirement to impose curfews islandwide,” he said. “The action has to be according to the need.”
In Rajangana where a counsellor had attended a funeral of a relative and at an almsgiving, 12,000 persons were locked down, he said.
All confirmed cases are being made public as they are known, he said.
In Rajangana, 300 tests were done on July 14, he said. The tests were conducted after they reached the time limit suitable for testing, he said.
In Pallekele, family members, who were found on the July 04, were also subjected to testing after reaching 10 days, on July 14 and 15, he said. About 3,000 tests have been conducted so far.
In Sri Lanka, authorities wait to conduct tests increasing the possibility that those who develop the diseases after two days give it to others, especially those in-home quarantines.
In Vietnam, tests are done immediately on F1 contacts to determine whether there is a possibility of F2 contacts getting the disease and to stop any already infected persons from giving the diseases to other members of a household.
They are re-tested later to find others who develop the disease later. F1 contacts who test negative remain in quarantine.
F1 contacts are also not allowed to be in-home quarantine in Vietnam.
A key gap in testing between Sri Lanka had Vietnam was Sri Lanka’s practise of giving a quarantine certificate after two weeks, observers have noted.
In Vietnam, the all-clear given only after two tests is conducted following a two-week home quarantine.
Vietnam has become the global leader by the effective use of testing on risk-assessment probability rather than medical reasons, observers say.
Authorities are finding cases as staff and family members from the drug rehabilitation centre are being traced and rounded up.
Jasinghe said that while many contacts were rounded up for quarantine, it did not indicate that they have the disease.
A private hospital in Ragama, Gampaha was closed after a senior official who was a lecturer in the drug rehabilitation centre was confirmed with the disease. A number of staff at the hospital were being tested.
In Kalawana in Ratnapura, owners closed shops, after a military officer who worked at the Kandakadu centre had returned home. A state bank branch and a private dispensary had also closed, media reports.
At Mobitel, a state mobile operator, a branch was closed after an F3 contact was known to have visited the place. (Colombo/July15/2020 – Update III-sb)