Over 25,000 PCR tests conducted, two new patients

Monday, 4 May 2020 02:12 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Over 10,000 PCR tests done last week, total of 25,206 
  • 12 new COVID-19 cases, bringing total to 718
  • ADB-funded lab to be operational by mid-May
  • PCR tests on Navy personnel completed 
  • Pannila, China Kotuwa in Beruwala and Akurana isolation ended 
  • 11 released from quarantine after being cleared by PCR tests
  • 4,635 remain in quarantine in 36 centres countrywide

More than 25,000 PCR tests have been carried out to detect COVID-19 infected persons in Sri Lanka as of yesterday morning, as the Government continued its virus mitigation efforts in the backdrop of 12 more patients being diagnosed, bringing the total number to 718. 

According to Health Services Director General Dr. Anil Jasinghe, last week close to 10,000 PCR test were carried out. 

The increase in testing over the last two weeks came after several groups of medical professionals and policymakers called on the Government to expand testing urgently. 

According to the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health, 527 COVID-19 infected patients remain in care as of last evening. A total of 184 patients have recovered up to date. Seven succumbed to the virus.  

An ADB-funded PCR test laboratory being built in Mulleriyawa is expected to be operational by the second week of this month according to Project Coordinator Dr. Anil Dissanayaka. The state-of-the-art laboratory will be equipped to deliver up to 1,000 PCR tests in 24 hours if fully manned and resourced, Dr. Dissanayaka told the Daily FT. 

The building for the laboratory is already prepared and will be ready for operations once installation of the necessary systems are completed. The laboratory will require a minimum of six specialists to run the laboratory, Dr. Dissanayake added. 

“While the focus in the short term will be COVID-19 testing, this will be a national laboratory and in the future can be used for other testing purposes,” Dr. Dissanayake said. 

Issuing a press release, Dr. Anil Jasinghe rejected media reports which cited him stating that the COVID-19 situation in the country will be resolved by 11 May. 

However, Dr. Jasinghe stated that if the number of persons who test positive from the ‘Navy cluster’ reduces and if there are no unforeseen incidents, there is a possibility that Sri Lanka could witness the drop in new COVID-19 patients. Dr. Jasinghe pointed out that all Navy personnel who were exposed to COVID-19 at Welisara Navy Station and their contacts have been subjected to PCR testing. 

Dr. Jasinghe also stressed that none of the hospitals that were equipped to treat COVID-19 patients have reached their full capacity. He urged State and private sector organisations to follow the public health guidelines issued by the Health Ministry and said that several sectors and industries are being consulted to draft relevant guidelines from them as the plan to restart normal public life from 11 May takes shape. 

He urged the public to be mindful that as a community, Sri Lankans will need to learn to live with COVID-19 long term with strict adherence to public health regulations and safety guidelines essential if the country is to move forward from this situation. 

Addressing the press at the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 (NOCPC), Army Commander and NOCPC head Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva said that the isolated villages of Pannila, China Kotuwa in Beruwela and Akurana in Kandy were no longer isolated zones and that the villagers can return to their normal lives. 

According to the Army Commander, 207 students and State officials were repatriated from London yesterday and sent to quarantine centres. A total of 11 persons who completed their quarantine periods were released yesterday after they tested negative for the COVID-19 PCR test. A total of 4,917 persons have returned home after completing the quarantine program up to date. 

The Navy has moved 1,023 family members and contacts of the sailors who tested positive for COVID-19 into quarantine centres as a precautionary measure, Lt Gen. Silva said. A total of 4,635 persons remain in quarantine in 36 centres islandwide, Lt. Gen. Silva added.


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