- Over 17,000 patients linked to New Year cluster, total patient count rises to 113,676
- Public to contact NOCPCO on 1906 hotline regarding delays in transporting patients to treatment centres
- PHI Union warns against allowing patients to remain at home given spread of new variant
- Several GN Divisions in Western Province placed under isolation
By Shailendree Wickrama Adittiya
Sri Lanka detected over 1,000 COVID-19 patients for the seventh consecutive day with health authorities confirming that 1,923 persons tested positive for the virus yesterday.
Among the patients detected yesterday are 1,913 persons linked to the New Year cluster, which has a total patient count of 17,153. In addition to this, the Peliyagoda cluster has 82,785 patients linked to it, the Prisons cluster has 4,830 patients linked to it, and the Divulapitiya cluster has 3,059 patients linked to it. The clusters have expanded to 107,827 patients in total.
The country’s imported cases include 3,627 Sri Lankan returnees from abroad and 298 foreigners.
The country’s cumulative COVID-19 cases have reached 113,676. Of this, 33,594 were detected from Colombo, 20,856 were detected from Gampaha, 8,308 were detected from Kalutara, 4,836 were detected from Kandy, and 4,832 were detected from Kurunegala.
The district distribution of COVID-19 patients includes the patients detected on Sunday. Of the 1,891 persons who tested positive, 387 were from Colombo, 330 were from Kalutara, 297 were from Gampaha, 102 were from Nuwara Eliya and 88 were from Puttalam.
At present, 14,771 persons are under medical care, including 728 persons at the Punani Treatment Centre, 481 persons at the Bingiriya Treatment Centre, and 360 persons at the Giriulla Treatment Centre.
Hospitals also have 834 persons suspected of having COVID-19 under observation.
According to the Epidemiology Unit, 967 persons who recovered from COVID-19 were discharged from treatment centres yesterday. This includes 186 persons from the Kopai Treatment Centre, 109 persons from the Bingiriya Treatment Centre, and 76 persons from the Giriulla Treatment Centre.
A total of 98,209 persons have recovered from the virus to date.
The Public Health Inspectors’ (PHI) Union yesterday suggested temporary centres for COVID-19 patients who are yet to be taken to a treatment centre.
“With the new COVID-19 variant, it is best to keep patients under some supervision of a doctor instead of keeping patients at home. We see that in rural areas, there are several issues when emergency hospital care is required for patients being kept at home,” PHI Union President Upul Rohana said.
On Sunday, the PHI Union raised concerns about inaccuracies in the number of COVID-19 deaths confirmed by health authorities. Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Sudath Samaraweera yesterday said an individual who is COVID-19 positive but dies of another condition would not be reported as a COVID-19 death.
Citing examples from Sunday, he said: “Two deaths were reported to us, one of which was a COVID-19 patient who died of leukaemia. In this instance, COVID-19 did not exacerbate leukaemia, nor was it a cause of death. Another person who had previous heart disease died of heart failure. Even with this patient, COVID-19 did not exacerbate their disease. Such deaths are not reported as COVID-19 deaths.”
National Operations Centre for the Prevention of the COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) Head Gen. Shavendra Silva yesterday requested the public to contact the NOCPCO on the hotline 1906 in case of any delays in transporting COVID-19 positive patients to treatment centres.
The NOCPCO also announced that isolation was lifted at 5 a.m. yesterday in the Piliyandala Police Area and that eight Grama Niladhari (GN) Divisions in the area had instead been placed under isolation.
As such, the Dampe, Batakeththara North, Palanwatte West, Palanwatte East, Kesbawa South, Makandana East, Mawiththara North and Madapatha GN Divisions are now under isolation.
The Gorakapitiya and Nampamunuwa GN Divisions will also remain under isolation.
In addition to this, the Arawwala North GN Division in the Maharagama Police Area and the Uggalla GN Division in the Padukka Police Division were isolated yesterday.
In the Kalutara District, Pinwatte, Pinwatte East and Narampitiya GN Divisions in the Panadura South Police Area and Bandaragama East GN Division in the Bandaragama Police Division have been isolated.
Alwis Watte in the Wattala Police Area in the Gampaha District, Tisaweerasingham Square GN Division in the Manmunai Police Area in the Batticaloa District, and Ratmatiya GN Division in the Hanguranketa Police Area in the Nuwara Eliya District are also under isolation.
According to the Sri Lanka Police, 215 persons were arrested on Sunday for violating quarantine regulations and 4,857 arrests have been made since 30 October 2020.
“We have received information that various gatherings with alcohol are being held despite guidelines issued by the Health Ministry and the Director General of Health Services. The Sri Lanka Police will from today carry out operations to raid these places and arrest persons attending them, as well as those supplying facilities and alcohol for these events, under quarantine regulations as well as criminal law,” Police Spokesperson DIG Ajith Rohana said.
Meanwhile, the Indigenous Medicine Promotion, Rural and Ayurvedic Hospitals Development and Community Health State Ministry issued a statement yesterday warning the public against using herbal recipes shared online and experimenting with unfamiliar medicines.
Explaining that such recipes are being shared more frequently these days due to the COVID-19 situation in the country, the State Ministry said that the incorrect use of ingredients could have harmful effects and that the public will be informed of any concoctions to boost immunity by the State Ministry itself.