401 new cases increase dual cluster total to 14,568

Wednesday, 18 November 2020 00:20 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Total cases rise to 18,075; includes 5,799 active cases
  • 516 persons discharged from hospital, recoveries exceed 12,000
  • Risk in Colombo municipal area and Western Province high: Chief Epidemiologist
  • 231 cases identified from Colombo District on Monday

By Shailendree Wickrama Adittiya

The dual COVID-19 cluster that emerged from Divulapitiya and Peliyagoda yesterday expanded to 14,568 cases with the detection of 401 new patients.

According to the Department of Government Information, the 401 cases were contacts of the Peliyagoda COVID-19 cluster.

A total of 18,075COVID-19 patients have been identified in the island to date. In addition to the dual cluster, the total count also includes 1,488 Sri Lankan returnees from abroad, 950 Navy personnel and their contacts, 651 persons connected to the Kandakadu cluster, and 103 foreigners.

According to the Epidemiology Unit, 5,799 persons are currently receiving treatment for COVID-19, including 540 persons at the Punani Treatment Centre, 414 persons at the Bingiriya Treatment Centre, 360 persons at the Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital, and 253 persons at the Kandakadu Treatment Centre.

Hospitals are also monitoring 516 persons suspected of having COVID-19.

The Epidemiology Unit adds that 404 persons were discharged from hospitals yesterday. This includes 57 persons from the Yakkala Treatment Centre, 46 persons from the Rambukkana Treatment Centre, and 45 persons from the Koggala Long Beach Treatment Centre. The total number of COVID-19 recoveries in the island has thus increased to 12,210.

The COVID-19 death count has increased to 66 as the health authorities yesterday confirmed that five COVID-19 related deaths had occurred in the country. According to Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Sudath Samaraweera, the three deaths reported on Monday were of elderly persons with chronic illness and COVID-19 was an indirect cause of death. “None of them had a direct COVID-19 condition like COVID pneumonia,” he said.

Dr. Samaraweera went on to add that despite controlling the spread of the virus to some extent, the risk remained high in the Colombo municipal area and, beyond that, the Western Province. “Along with patients detected within the community, patients identified from institutions is another area that should be focused on in order to control this situation,” he added.

While COVID-19 patients have been identified from various organisations, Dialog Axiata on Monday issued a statement saying random PCR testing carried out among staff had led to the identification of two infected staff members and three infected persons from an external service provider.

“These five team members will be treated based on the guidance of the Public Health Inspectors, health officials and the relevant authorities,” the statement said, adding that the Union Place head office and the Customer Interaction Centre will be temporarily closed for sanitisation purposes.

A previous statement, issued on 13 November, stated that two security staff attached to the Union Place head office and one staff member from the Nawala Experience Centre had been identified as COVID-19 positive through random testing. The statement added that both outlets would be temporarily closed for sanitisation purposes.

Meanwhile, Police Spokesperson DIG Ajith Rohana yesterday confirmed that an officer attached to the Peradeniya Police Station had tested positive for COVID-19. A second test would be carried out as per the advice from health authorities to confirm that the officer was, in fact, COVID-19 positive.

According to DIG Ajith Rohana, the officer as well as contacts have been directed for quarantine but it is yet to be determined how he contracted the virus. DIG Ajith Rohana added that it is believed the officer, who is a driver, contracted it while on duty.

Regarding claims made on Monday by Colombo Mayor Rosy Senanayake regarding self-quarantined persons in Mattakkuliya reporting for duty at their places of work, DIG Ajith Rohana said he had been assured by the Mattakkuliya Police that all persons undergoing home quarantine were constantly monitored by the Police and health authorities and were not permitted to leave their homes.

The Police Spokesperson added that they were looking into the possibility of persons from areas like Mutwal, Mattakkuliya, and Grandpass moving to other parts of Colombo before lockdown was enforced.

He added that areas like Fort and Pettah were isolated due to the high number of patients identified as well as to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

According to the Epidemiology Unit’s district distribution of patients, the highest number of cases have been identified from Colombo. Data shows 5,923 cases from the Colombo District, 5,050 from the Gampaha District, 613 from the Kalutara District and 248 each from the Kandy and Kurunegala Districts.

Of the 382 cases identified on Monday, 231 were from the Colombo District. This includes 48 from Kotahena, 46 from Borella, 42 from Grandpass, and 31 from Dematagoda. Of the 42 cases identified from the Gampaha District on Monday, 25 were from Wattala, six were from Dungalpitiya, and four were from Negombo.

The remaining patients identified on Monday include 13 from the Police and 42 persons from prisons. A total of 504 persons have been identified from prisons to date.

Meanwhile, the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of the COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) yesterday stated that 3,281 persons are currently undergoing quarantine at 33 centres. The NOCPCO added that persons who arrived in the island yesterday, including 59 persons from Qatar and 26 persons from Dubai, have been directed to centres to undergo quarantine.

It also stated that as of 16 November, 45,708 Sri Lankan have returned to the island.


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