An Echelon Media Company
Tuesday September 26th, 2023

Two clusters make up nearly half of Sri Lanka’s total of COVID 19 patients

Navy guards at the Kochchikade Shrine of St Anthony shortly after the Easter Sunday attacks/Pathum Dhananjana

ECONOMYNEXT – In the past six days a total of 285 new COVID 19 positive cases have been diagnosed throughout Sri Lanka, according to statistics released by the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health today April 28.

The total number since the outbreak of the disease and the discovery of the first patient, a Chinese tourist, is now 596.

So in the past six days the number of COVID 19 patients in Sri Lanka has nearly doubled, a huge surge for a country that has had a very incremental increase in patient numbers on a daily basis.

These statistics are because of what is known as the “Welisara Navy Cluster” the large number of Navy Personnel from this giant Navy Camp who were found to be COVID 19 positive.

In all 206 persons are from this cluster.

They are believed to have contracted the disease from fellow sailors who were deployed to find and round up a group of at-risk people who were eventually found to be COVID 19 positive at Suduwella in the Ja-Ela area.

Subsequently after testing all the sailors in the Barrack where the sailors who had contact with the at-risk people, 30 Navy men were found to be sick with the virus.

Later testing of a large number of sailors found that more Navy men in the camp were infected.

The Navy also found that some sailors from the same Barrack had gone home on leave and had crossed district barriers and reached their home villages which were in areas, which until now, had been free of the virus.

These regions ranged from Polonnaruwa, where the first COVID 19 positive sailors was found, to Girandurukotte in the Badulla District.

Some had travelled on returning vegetable trucks, taken three-wheelers or motorbikes to get home.

This has placed their family members in their villages as well as close associates at risk of contracting the disease.

Health Officials use the word “cluster” to describe a group of patients which are geographically located at a central spot and relate their infections to a single person.

The biggest earlier cluster was in the Bandaranayake Mawatha area in Central Colombo where 62 people were infected through a single person.

The first patient referred as the “Index Patient” in that case is a lady who returned from a pilgrimage to India and may have caught the disease from a fellow passenger on her flight home, according to Health Officials.

Public Health Officials found that her husband and son were also infected and within weeks many people in her neighbourhood, as well as nearby sectors, were testing positive for COVID 19.

These two clusters have contributed 268 of the 596 patients to the Sri Lankan total. (Colombo, April 28, 2020)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Future SJB govt to “refine” Sri Lanka’s agreement with IMF: Harsha de Silva

ECONOMYNEXT – A future government led by the incumbent main opposition party the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) will “refine” Sri Lanka’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), SJB legislator Harsha de Silva said.

The MP tweeted Monday September 26 morning that a closed-door discussion between the SJB and an IMF team that’s currently in Sri Lanka to review the ongoing programme was productive and had focused on governance, transparency and equity in the reform process.

“It was a good discussion. We were quite frank,” said de Silva in a clip he shared of him speaking to the privately owned NewsFirst network.

“Yes, we said we agree as the SJB that we need to work with the IMF, and that we accept that large-scale economic reform will have to take place. That was the baseline.

“However, the leader of the opposition said that, under our government, certain modifications will have to happen,” said de Silva.

The MP, who also chairs the parliament’s Committee on Public Finance (COPF), said this is because the people “obviously see that there is inequity in the implementation of this agreement”.

News footage of the SJB’s latest round of talks with the IMF team showed that SJB and Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa along with de Silva and a handful of his colleagues in the party were joined by former Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MPs who were vocal supporters of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. MPs Nalaka Godahewa and G L Peiris also seen joining a group photo with the IMF and the SJB lawmakers.

The SJB was among the first to demand that the then government of ex-President Rajapaksa approach the IMF before Sri Lanka’s currency crashed in 2022. Over the months since incumbent President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s administration embarked on an IMF-prescribed reform agenda, the opposition party has adopted a more critical position on the international lender.

In May,  SJB MP Kabir Hashim speaking at a public event in Monaragala alluded to a unique vision his party possesses with regard to macroeconomic development that doesn’t necessarily include the IMF.


Sri Lanka’s SJB no longer enamoured of IMF, promises new govt in three moons

The SJB’s position with regard to the IMF programme, Sri Lanka’s 17th so far, has been less than consistent. The party, which was among the first to call for a deal with the iInternational lender at the onset of the island nation’s worst currency crisis in decades, abstained from voting for the agreement in a vote taken in parliament in April.

While the SJB hasn’t quite had a drastic departure from its original pro-IMF stance, the party has been increasingly vocal of late about the socioeconomic impact of the deal.

SJB leader Premadasa earlier this year reportedly said a future SJB government would not be obligated to honour deals made by the incumbent government headed by President Ranil Wickremesinghe. MP de Silva explained later that what his party leader had meant was that Sri Lanka must negotiate terms favourable to the country when dealing with the IMF. (Colombo/Sep26/2023)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka cabinet okays appropriation bill for 2024 budget

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers had approved a draft Appropriation Act for 2024, the state information office said.

The Finance Minister’s proposal to gazette the bill and table it in parliament was approved by the cabinet.

Presenting the appropriation bill is the first stage of presenting a budget for 2024,

The appropriation bills set outs the expenditure plans for each ministry.

The budget proposals, made in November is called the second reading of the Appropriation Act. (Colombo/Sept24/2023)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka’s MEPA to get 28.5 mn rupees from Singaporean AEPW, for beach clean up

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) is to receive 5.7 million rupees a year, for five years, from Singapore-based marine waste solutions provider, Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), to maintain 8 beach cleaner machines.

The donation is meant to support MEPA clean coastal areas across Sri Lanka, using BeachTech Hydro Sweepy beach cleaner machines, previously donated by the organisation.

The oil industry-founded non-governmental organisation donated the 8 beach cleaners worth about US$180,000 to MEPA in the wake of the 2021 MV X-press Pearl ship disaster.

The machines manufactured by Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG, a German company, are effective at cleaning up plastic nurdles and other types of potentially harmful non-biodegradable waste, minimising human contact with hazardous materials.

As a significant amount of money is spent for the deployment of these machines for beach cleaning activities, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste has agreed to provide the funds for the upkeep of the machines for a period of five years.

With this financial donation, the Maritime Environment Protection Authority will be able to continue using these machines without interruption to clean identified beaches in the future. (Colombo/Sep26/2023)

Continue Reading