Russian national tests negative for COVID-19

Saturday, 26 September 2020 01:18 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • COVID-19 count rises to 3,345 with 12 new patients
  • Health authorities blame hotel for not adhering quarantine guidelines
  • 12 overseas arrivals test positive yesterday 
  • 16 more persons recover; total recoveries rise to 3,158
  • CMC Chief Medical Officer says 5 hotels within Colombo city limits converted to quarantine centres

By Shailendree Wickrama Adittiya

Health authorities yesterday confirmed that the Russian national undergoing quarantine in Matara has tested negative on two PCR tests, while 12 overseas arrivals tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the total number of patients identified in the island to 3,345. The Russian individual was part of a 15-member Russian airline crew and had tested positive at a private hospital on Thursday, while they were undergoing quarantine at a hotel in Matara, where health authorities and defence units were not informed about. 

The Russian national was then admitted to Hambantota hospital along with several employees of the hotel and close contacts. Health authorities claimed that the hotel failed to adhere to quarantine guidelines, permitting staff to return home and those under quarantine to leave the hotel premises.

“This situation cannot be allowed or accepted in any way. Due to this, the hotel staff, their family members, and other contacts are now required to undergo quarantine,” Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Sudath Samaraweera said.

A total of 12 overseas arrivals tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the total number of patients identified in the island to 3,345.

Of the total count, 1,359 are Sri Lankan returnees and 60 are foreign arrivals. This includes the seven Sri Lankan returnees and two foreigners who tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. Yesterday’s cases include six arrivals from Qatar, three from Ukraine, two from the United Arab Emirates, and one from Albania.

Of the total local cases, 950 are Navy personnel and their close contacts and 651 are persons connected to the Kandakadu Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre.

There are also 174 active cases in the island, including 63 persons receiving treatment at the Welikanda Base Hospital, 44 at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), and 26 at the Iranawila Hospital.

There are also 36 persons suspected of having COVID-19 currently under observation at various hospitals.

According to the Epidemiology Unit, 16 persons were discharged during the 24-hour period ending at 10 a.m. yesterday having recovered from COVID-19. This includes nine persons from the NIID, four persons from the Iranawila Hospital, and three persons from the Welikanda Base Hospital.

The total number of COVID-19 recoveries has thus risen to 3,158 and 13 COVID-19-related deaths have been recorded in the island to date.

In addition to this, the National Operation Centre for the Prevention of the COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) stated that 44,788 persons have completed the quarantine process at centres thus far, including 66 persons who left centres yesterday.

A further 6,562 persons are currently undergoing quarantine at 68 centres, the NOCPCO added.

Meanwhile, Colombo Municipal Council Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ruwan Wijayamuni said social distancing guidelines at the Colombo International Book Fair, which will take place at the BMICH until tomorrow, were not being followed in some stalls. He added that wearing face masks did not take place at a satisfactory level at first, but is now improving.

Strict guidelines have been issued to the Sri Lanka Book Publishers’ Association, the organisers of the event, as well as the management of the BMICH.

He added that five hotels within the Colombo city limits have been converted into quarantine centres. 

The hotels are completely closed to outsiders, thus minimising the risk of community transmission. Despite this, the Colombo Municipal Council carries out regular PCR tests in the community, especially in high risk areas, as per the guidelines of the Epidemiology Unit.

Dr. Wijayamuni added that they have been given a monthly target of 1,000 tests in the city limits. A total of 7,014 PCR tests have been carried out in Colombo city alone.

According to Dr. Wijayamuni, a total of 1,114 persons have been required to undergo quarantine, of which, 999 have completed the process. A further 115 persons are currently undergoing quarantine. “132 patients have been identified from the Colombo city so far. The last patient was identified on 1 May and no patients have been identified from the community in the 148 days since. This is an extremely favourable situation,” he added.

Dr. Wijayamuni went on to explain that they have followed up with 2,818 persons suspected of having COVID-19 and 115 persons are still under observation.