26 new patients, total COVID-19 cases at 797

Thursday, 7 May 2020 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Three more Navy personnel test positive for COVID-19
  • Total infections among Navy increases to 345
  • Three people earlier thought to have virus test negative
  • Over 1,400 PCR tests carried out on Tuesday 
  • 206 people return from UK, 190 from Singapore

Fears of more clusters developing in Colombo reduced yesterday when three people who were suspected of being infected with COViD-19 tested negative, but 26 more tested positive, bringing the number of active cases to 573 and total confirmed cases in the country to 797

Two residents of Rajagiriya and Kolonnawa and a nurse of the Colombo National Hospital were identified as being COVID-19 positive on Tuesday. However, following more testing, it was found that these people were not infected.  Therefore, the Ministry of Health removed them from the registry of COVID-19 infections in the country.

Of the confirmed patients, 135 are receiving treatment at the Navy Hospital, 133 at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), and 91 at the Colombo East Base Hospital. 

The total number of confirmed cases is 797, of which 345 were identified from the Sri Lanka Navy. National Operations Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 (NOCPOC) Head and Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva said that none of the cases among the Sri Lanka Navy since 30 April were identified outside naval bases. He added, “All officers have been called back to their bases, so all those who tested positive were identified from the bases.”

A majority of the new cases continue to be asymptomatic, with 15 of the 16 cases identified in the 24-hour period ending at 10 a.m. yesterday showing no symptoms. According to the Health Promotion Bureau, 1,491 PCR tests were carried out on 5 May.

It was also reported that two persons from Rajagiriya and Kolonnawa as well as a nurse at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka tested negative for COVID-19 yesterday, despite being identified as COVID-19 patients on Tuesday. Further tests as per protocol have shown they tested negative for COVID-19, resulting in the reclassification of the total patient count in Sri Lanka.

Nine deaths have been reported in the country, and 153 persons remain hospitalised over suspicions of COVID-19.

A total of 215 persons have recovered from COVID-19, including 18 during the 24-hour period ending at 10 a.m. yesterday. Fourteen of these were from the NIID, three from the Welikanda Base Hospital, and one from the Colombo East Base Hospital.

According to the Sri Lanka Navy, the recoveries include two Navy personnel, who were admitted to NIID on 26 April. They will be subjected to a 14-day quarantine period. Four Navy personnel have recovered thus far.

The Sri Lanka Navy also issued a statement yesterday saying there was no truth to reports of the Navy suspending COVID-19 containment efforts, and that legal action will be taken against all parties who published such reports.

According to Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva, 127 persons who completed the quarantine process at the Punani and Kandakadu centres were released yesterday, bringing the number released from quarantine centres managed by the Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Navy, and Sri Lanka Air Force to 5,188. In the 39 centres managed by the tri-forces, 4,819 persons continue to be under quarantine.

He added that a SriLankan Airlines flight brought down 206 persons from Britain yesterday morning, and 190 persons from Singapore in the evening. All persons will be quarantined at centres operated by the tri-forces.

Lt. Gen. Silva also spoke about the island-wide curfew which will be in effect until Monday, saying Vesak cannot be celebrated like it has been in the past. “We need to celebrate Vesak the way we celebrated Avurudu while under curfew. As such, Government and health sector guidelines should be adhered to,” he added.

According to Police Spokesman DIG Ajith Rohana, special teams from the police and intelligence sectors have been enlisted to arrest all those who engage in illegal activities or violate curfew regulations during this four-day island-wide curfew.

In addition to this, animal slaughter, liquor sales, and gambling will not be allowed today and tomorrow.

DIG Ajith Rohana added that in the 24-hour period ending yesterday evening, 400 persons and 87 vehicles have been taken into custody, bringing the total number taken into custody since curfew was imposed to 47,500 persons and 12,500 vehicles.

The Police and tri-forces have also set up 1,200 roadblocks in the country and legal action will be taken against persons who do not adhere to curfew regulations.

“On Monday, operations are to resume under special conditions, and we will present guidelines on how organisation heads and the public should act during this period,” he added. Laws and regulations to be introduced will take into account social distancing, hand hygiene, and informing the relevant authorities of symptoms.

The laws and regulations will cover a range of sectors and persons, including drivers, beauty salons, hotels, restaurants, food services, educational institutions, manufacturing sector, and health care services.

He added that those who use public transport should be especially cautious of their health and safety.

While it was announced on 5 May that beauty and hair salons will be allowed to resume operations, Director General of Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe, in a statement issued later that day, requested owners of these establishments to not rush into reopening them but to await Health Ministry guidelines.

Once issued, the guidelines can be collected from the respective Medical Officers of Health (MOH), who are to be informed once the structure and facilities at the salons are in accordance to the guidelines.

Following this, the Public Health Inspector (PHI) of the area will inspect the premises and provide their recommendations to the MOH. A certification of approval will be issued based on these recommendations and salons can only operate once this certification has been obtained.