- 772 persons test positive for COVID-19, clusters rise to 56,778
- 7,838 persons under medical care, 52,566 persons have recovered to date
- Western Province patient count rises to 38,820
- GMOA urges Govt. to increase research capacity
- Criticises Health Ministry for delayed response to new variant
By Shailendree Wickrama Adittiya
The total number of COVID-19 patients detected in the island exceeded 60,000 with the detection of 772 COVID-19-positive persons yesterday.
According to the Department of Government Information, 742 associates of the Peliyagoda COVID-19 cluster were among those who tested positive for the virus yesterday.
This brings the total number of patients linked to the Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda, and Prisons clusters to 56,778. The total patient count also includes 1,822 Sri Lankan returnees from abroad, 950 Navy personnel and their contacts, 651 persons linked to the Kandakadu cluster, and 150 foreigners.
This brings the number of COVID-19 patients detected in the country to 60,233, of which 7,838 patients are currently under medical care. This includes 464 persons at the Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital, 450 persons at the Bingiriya Treatment Centre, and 397 persons at the Punani Treatment Centre.
Hospitals are also monitoring 781 persons suspected of having COVID-19.
The Epidemiology Unit states that the number of persons to recover from COVID-19 rose to 52,566, with 224 persons from the Punani Treatment Centre, 143 persons from the Gallela Treatment Centre, and 135 persons from the Dambadeniya Treatment Centre among those discharged yesterday.
The Epidemiology Unit adds that 22,452 persons from Colombo District, 12,278 persons from Gampaha District, 4,090 persons from Kalutara District, 2,352 persons from Kandy District, and 1,273 persons from Galle District are among the total COVID-19 patients detected in the island.
This includes the 755 COVID-19 patients detected on Tuesday, of which 369 patients were from Colombo, 124 patients were from Gampaha, 80 patients were from Kalutara, 29 patients were from Kurunegala, and 23 patients were from Kandy.
The Health Promotion Bureau yesterday stated that 1,640,305 PCR tests have been performed in the island to date, including 15,259 tests carried out on Tuesday.
The Parliament yesterday confirmed that State Minister of Coconut, Kithul and Palmyrah Cultivation Promotion and Related Industrial Product Manufacturing and Export Diversification Arundika Fernando has tested positive for COVID-19.
However, he has no close contacts from Parliament as he had not attended Parliament since the sessions on 19 and 20 January and also tested negative for COVID-19 during a PCR test carried out on the premises on 15 January.
Meanwhile, the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday urged the Government to expand facilities required to identify variants of COVID-19 in the island, thus increasing the efficiency of the mechanism.
The remarks were made along with criticism of the Health Ministry’s delay in reacting to the identification of a new variant of COVID-19 in the island.
“If it has been a few days since the Sri Jayewardenepura University laboratory handed over the report to the Health Ministry, they need not have waited until the Sri Jayewardenepura University made this statement. The Health Ministry could have been clever to clearly communicate the risk associated with this to the public,” GMOA Editor Dr. Haritha Aluthge said.
He added, “We have continuously said the Health Ministry is showing an unacceptable delay in this regard.”
Dr. Aluthge called for random sampling and quick testing in order to better understand the variant and how it may affect the COVID vaccination process that begins tomorrow.
“We do not know the extent of the spread within the country because by the time we test those samples, another two to three weeks would have passed,” he went on to say.