- COVID-19 detections exceed 142,000, includes 78,633 persons from Western Province
- 23,483 persons under medical care, recoveries rise to 118,322
- Travel restrictions lifted after long weekend
- Limited movement permitted between 4 a.m. and 11 p.m.
By Shailendree Wickrama Adittiya
Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 detections rose to 142,746 with 2,275 persons testing positive for the virus yesterday.
The Department of Government Information states that 2,212 patients detected yesterday were linked to the New Year Cluster. The Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda, Prisons and New Year clusters have a total patient count of 136,463.
According to the Epidemiology Unit, the country’s local COVID-19 cases include 82,785 persons linked to the Peliyagoda cluster, 43,265 persons linked to the New Year cluster, 5,142 persons linked to the Prisons cluster, and 3,059 persons linked to the Minuwangoda cluster. The imported cases include 3,991 Sri Lankan returnees from abroad and 315 foreigners.
This includes the 2,333 persons from the New Year Cluster, 38 persons form the Prisons cluster, and 15 Sri Lankan returnees from abroad who tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.
A total of 2,386 COVID-19 patients were detected on Saturday, including 338 persons from Kandy, 321 persons from Kalutara, 288 persons from Nuwara Eliya, 277 persons from Colombo, and 184 persons from Gampaha.
The district distribution of COVID-19 patients detected to date include 40,862 persons from Colombo, 26,053 persons from Gampaha, 11,718 persons from Kalutara, 6,670 persons from Kurunegala, and 5,916 persons from Kandy.
At present, 23,483 persons are under medical care, including 579 persons at the Punani Treatment Centre, 506 persons at the Bingiriya Treatment Centre, and 499 persons at the Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital. According to the Epidemiology Unit, 1,419 persons suspected of having COVID-19 are under observation at various hospitals.
The country’s COVID-19 recoveries yesterday rose to 118,322 with hospitals discharging 1,102 persons who recovered from the virus. This includes 94 persons from the Dambadeniya Treatment Centre, 68 persons from the Bingiriya Treatment Centre, and 64 persons from the Punani Treatment Centre.
Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Sudath Samaraweera yesterday explained that all patients who do not display COVID-19 symptoms or only display mild symptoms transferred to treatment centres will be discharged after 10 days and will be required to undergo four days of self-quarantine before being able to resume life as usual.
“Once an individual contracts COVID-19, if they display no symptoms or mild symptoms, the impact the virus has on their body as well as the ability for the virus to spread to another person is completely eliminated after 10 to 14 days,” Dr. Samaraweera explained.
On Saturday, State Minister of Primary Healthcare, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle said the Government hoped to have asymptomatic patients monitored at home starting today, with measures in place to direct them for medical care as soon as any complications begin to develop.
However, the Public Health Inspectors’ Union (PHIU) raised concerns about a lack of medical officers and facilities to monitor patients at home, especially in the event they develop complications and require emergency care.
“We are ready to take care of patients at home, but the necessary infrastructure must be completed immediately,” PHI Union President Upul Rohana said.
However, responding to questions regarding the move to permit asymptomatic patients to remain at home, Dr. Fernandopulle said today that discussions are being held on the matter as relevant guidelines must be prepared before measures can be implemented.
Meanwhile, travel restrictions imposed over the long weekend were lifted at 4 a.m. today but will be implemented from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. daily until 31 May.
“Despite travel restrictions being lifted between 4 a.m. and 11 p.m. until 31 May, persons must adhere to the safety recommendations issued by the Director General of Health Services on 12 May,” Police Spokesperson DIG Ajith Rohana said.
He added that the NIC last digit system will be in place until the end of the month in order to limit travel. Thus persons with an odd last digit can leave the house on odd dates and those with an even last digit can leave the house on even dates.
These restrictions do not apply to persons travelling to and from work.
DIG Ajith Rohana emphasised that this, however, did not mean persons must leave the house on permitted days. “If it is absolutely necessary only should you visit the closest consumer location and access the required services,” he said, adding that travelling to places outside the area could be an offence.
Residents who do not have an NIC and have documentation to prove this can use their driver’s license or passport. However, it is the NIC number mentioned in the driver’s license or passport that will be considered.
Foreign nationals will be permitted to use their passport and the passport number will be considered.
Interprovincial travel will only be permitted for essential services.