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Sri Lanka says Coronavirus cluster being controlled as most Kandakadu Covid-19 contacts test negative

ECONOMYNEXT – Coronavirus tests conducted on most contacts of Covid-19 infected staffers on leave from drug rehabilitation centres in Kandakadu has been negative, officials said while urging the public and private firms to follow health regulations and exercise caution.

Sri Lanka quarantined hundreds of persons who had come into contact with staff and volunteers including military personnel who worked at a drug rehabilitation centre in Kandakadu where inmates were infected from addicts who were transferred after a two-week quarantine.

Result of 395 tests done on contacts in Rajangana in Anuradhapura, where a number of persons had become infected from a staffer on leave, had been negative on July 15, Anil Jasinghe, head of Sri Lanka’s Health Service said.

Contacts of an infected person at a private hospital in Ragama had also been negative, he said. More test results are due.

In Sri Lanka, contacts are tested after 10 days. A contact could develop the disease up to 21 days or a little later, but a negative test shows that the persons would not have infected anyone they had met.

Sri Lanka has a gap in quarantine testing unlike in Vietnam, where released persons are tested twice in home quarantine before giving a quarantine certificate.

The rehabilitation centre in Kandakadu is believed to have been infected from drug users who had undergone a 14-day quarantine process followed in Sri Lanka.

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In the early days, Sri Lanka did not test quarantined persons before release either.

Sri Lanka has an aggressive contact tracing and quarantine process, but there are unusual restrictions on testing high-risk persons, observers have noted.

Jasinghe said 101 samples were taken from Kundasale in Kandy, 74 persons in connection with a church in Kotugoda and 266 persons in connection with Tantirimale and Rantembe who are family members of inmates who had visited them.

Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry said 9 persons tested positive up to 2130 hours on July 15, taking the total to 2,671 persons.

By late afternoon, one person who had returned from Qatar had been confirmed, Jasinghe said.

Sri Lanka’s military chief, Shavendra Silva, told a television station that one person from Rajangana had tested positive.

About 12,000 persons are in lockdown in Rajangana where family members of a Kandakadu staffer had been infected, Jasinghe said a day earlier.

Meanwhile, officials are urging the public to strictly follow Coronavirus health rules and wear masks as they have become more relaxed recently.

“In workplaces, keep the different units separate,” Jasinghe said. Let them come and go separately.

“Heads of institutions are accountable. In recent days we have noticed that the situation has changed. It is not only for this situation but also for the future.” (Colombo/July15/2020-sb)