Divulapitiya cluster grows with 127 new COVID cases

Tuesday, 20 October 2020 01:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • 2,183 persons linked to cluster test positive
  • Hospitals providing medical care to 2,172 persons
  • Grocery stores and pharmacies in curfew-imposed areas to operate until 10 p.m.

By Shailendree Wickrama Adittiya

The Divulapitiya COVID-19 cluster expanded to 2,183, with the identification of 127 persons who tested positive for the virus yesterday.

According to the Department of Government Information, 42 of yesterday’s cases were employees of the garment manufacturing facility in Minuwangoda who were at quarantine centres at the time of testing positive. The remaining 85 cases are other contacts.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases identified in the island to 5,665, of which 1,455 are Sri Lankan returnees from abroad, 950 are Navy personnel and their close contacts, 651 are persons connected to the Kandakadu Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre, and 95 are foreigners.

According to the Epidemiology Unit, 2,172 persons are currently receiving treatment at various hospitals, including 396 persons at the Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital, 228 persons at the Kamburugamuwa Hospital, 167 persons at the Hambantota District General Hospital, and 163 at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID).

Hospitals are also monitoring 297 persons suspected of having COVID-19.

The Epidemiology Unit adds that 37 persons recovered from COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the total number of recoveries to 3,440. The latest recoveries include 17 from the Welikanda Base Hospital, 14 from the NIID, and six from the Teldeniya Base Hospital.

Meanwhile, the National Operation Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) stated that 205 persons left quarantine centres yesterday, having completed the process. A total of 54,328 persons have left centres to date.

A further 9,287 persons remain in 83 centres managed by the Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Navy, and Sri Lanka Air Force, including 10 persons who arrived from Japan yesterday.

The NOCPCO also stated that grocery stores and pharmacies in areas where curfew has been imposed will be permitted to carry out operations until 10 p.m. today.

Regarding the source of the Divulapitiya cluster, NOCPCO Head Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva yesterday statet: “Having carried out investigations on the Divulapitiya cluster from different angles, we have now arrived at a certain point.” He added that it was, however, not ethical to make any statements until findings were confirmed.

Silva explained that there have been certain shortcomings when overseas arrivals quarantine at hotels, and that all information will be revealed once investigations are concluded.

Dengue cases see sharp drop

Meanwhile, Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi yesterday said it was the Government’s responsibility to not only provide adequate treatment facilities for COVID-19 patients, but also provide care for those with other health conditions, whether they were communicable or non-communicable diseases.

As such, a Dengue Prevention Week was held from 14 October to today, and Wanniarachchi said the lowest number of dengue cases in the past decade was reported this year with 28,283 cases thus far in 2020.

According to the Epidemiology Unit, during the period between January and October last year, 63,720 dengue cases were identified, with a total of 105,049 cases in 2019. The previous year, 51,659 dengue cases were identified and 186,101 cases were identified in 2017.

Wanniarachchi added that 34 deaths had occurred due to dengue in 2020 as opposed to 158 last year.

The Health Minister went on to explain that several persons and organisations play key roles in the control of dengue in the country and praised the services carried out by the Dengue Mosquito Control Task Force.

“The Government is taking steps to recruit this service to the Public service, and I have presented the Cabinet paper to extend their service. We need to appreciate this service,” she said.

Wanniarachchi added that issues of the grassroots, like providing them with permanent employment and promised allowances, must be addressed if the country is to move forward.



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