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Total number of COVID 19 cases now 1,469 as May 27 breaks records with 150 patients detected

ECONOMYNEXT – The total number of patients detected yesterday May 27, has risen to 150 bringing the number in Sri Lanka since the outbreak to 1469, the Epidemiological unit of the Health Department reported.

Yesterday the government designated two recently built hospitals as treatment centres for COVID 19 patients as the numbers with the disease rocketed up.

This is the highest number detected in a day since the outbreak more than double that of the previous high.

Of the patients detected yesterday, 97 are returning migrant workers from Kuwait and 53 are Navy personnel.

Last night the number stood at 134 with 53 Navy and 81 from the returnees.

A spokesman for the Health Ministry Viraj Abeysinghe told EconomyNext that the increasing number of diagnosed patients from the returning migrant workers has compelled the government to find new hospitals to treat them.

The hospitals are at Hambantota and Teldeniya, he said. The Hambantota hospital is a relatively new institution built with Saudi Arabian assistance after the 2006 tsunami destroyed the older hospital.

At Teldeniya, the hospital is smaller but is also a new institution built after the new town areas of Digana were constructed.

“This is part of our plan to deal with the influx of patients from the returning migrant workers,” he said.

Although Sri Lanka has said that there is no community transmission of the disease as yet, the numbers of patients from the so-called Navy Cluster and the Middle-Eastern returnees has seen the totals rise from 271 on April 20 to 1,453 to today May 27.

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The Navy cluster which erupted in the large Navy base in Welisara near Colombo after some sailors rounding up suspected COVID 19 patients has up to now produced 727 confirmed cases. The virus has ravaged the base Navy Barracks as well as among their family members when personnel were allowed to go home on leave.

The Navy began moving personnel who may have been exposed to the disease to quarantine centres away from Welisara to protect the personnel and their families still stationed in the base.

Migrant workers stranded in the Middle-East in particular began returning in large numbers last week. Many of them designated to be illegal in Kuwait due to visa overstay or without valid work permits were detained in camps and sent home by the Kuwaiti government in their own aircraft free of charge.

One of the Kuwaiti returnees died earlier this week after being admitted to the Dambulla hospital complaining of a chest pain. It was later found that she had contracted COVID 19. She too had been in mandatory quarantine after returning from Kuwait. (Colombo May 27, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana