- 110 persons test positive, Divulapitiya cluster expands to 1,899
- 1,956 persons receiving treatment
- Measures being taken to prevent further clusters from forming – PHI Union
By Shailendree Wickrama Adittiya
The total number of COVID-19 patients identified in the island rose to 5,354 yesterday with the identification of 110 new cases.
Of the new cases, 38 are staff or associates of the garment manufacturing facility in Minuwangoda who were at quarantine centres at the time of testing positive and 72 are other contacts. This brings the Divulapitiya cluster to 1,899 cases.
The remaining cases include 1,450 Sri Lankan returnees from abroad, 950 Navy personnel and their close contacts, 651 persons connected to the Kandakadu Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre, and 92 foreign arrivals.
According to the Epidemiology Unit, the number of active cases in the country is 1,956, of which 324 are at the Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital, 228 are at the Kamburugamuwa Hospital, 172 are at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), and 169 are at the Hambantota District General Hospital.
Hospitals are also monitoring 316 persons suspected of having COVID-19 and yesterday discharged five persons who recovered from the virus. This includes two persons from the Homagama Base Hospital, one person from the NIID, one person from the Welikanda Base Hospital, and one person from the Hambantota District General Hospital.
This brings the total number of COVID-19 recoveries in the island to 3,385.
Meanwhile, the National Operation Centre for the Prevention of the COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) stated 53,011 persons have left quarantine centres to date, including 397 persons who completed the process yesterday.
A further 9,556 persons are currently undergoing quarantine at 84 centres managed by the Tri-Forces. Twelve persons who arrived from Australia yesterday have also been directed to centres. Regarding quarantining of contacts of the Divulapitiya cluster, NOCPCO Head Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva said: “The majority of the contacts have been directed to quarantine centres managed by the Tri-Forces. At the moment, over 10,000 persons are at the quarantine centres and 150 to 300 persons are released from centres on a daily basis.”
In addition to this, the Public Health inspectors’ (PHI) Union President Upul Rohana said the situation in Divulapitiya and Minuwangoda is being controlled, although patients are still being identified in these areas.
He added that first tier and second tier contacts are also testing positive, but those testing positive from various parts of the island are directly linked to the Divulapitiya cluster. “PHIs around the island are working to ensure they do not develop into clusters,” he said, adding that PHIs are also doing their best to control the spread of the virus in the Free Trade Zone in Katunayake, where patients are being reported.
“It is a somewhat risky situation with a large number of patients being identified at a time. We are doing our best to control this situation as well,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the Department of Motor Traffic yesterday said public services will recommence from 20 October with staff and other limitations. Persons who wish to obtain services will be required to make an appointment by phone beforehand and cannot access additional services.
The facility to submit vehicle transfer applications to the nearest Divisional Secretariat or Department of Motor Traffic District Office will also be available.
However, the one-day service of issuing licences provided by the office in Werahara will be withheld until further notice and will only be available to those residing or employed in the Colombo District.
The Head Office and Regional Offices of the Department of Immigration and Emigration will recommence select services on 19 October. However, appointments must be made beforehand, and only those receiving the services and persons whose presence is legally required will be permitted to enter the premises.