Curfew declared in Maradana, Dematagoda
By Dilanthi Jayamanne, Tharaka Samman and Kusum S. Hennadi (Kelaniya Correspondent)
Indefinite quarantine curfew was imposed in Dematagoda and Maradana Police areas from Friday night. Meanwhile, quarantine curfew was also imposed in Payagala, Beruwala and Aluthgama Police areas until 5 a.m. Monday (26). Army Commander Lt. General Shavendra Silva also said Gulavita North and South, Wedawatte, Magurumaswila and Makandalawa villages in Walallawita Divisional Secretariat Division in the Kalutara District declared as isolated areas until further notice.
Meanwhile, despite claims made by the Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry that there is no community spread as far as the COVID-19 pandemic situation in the country is concerned, Medical Laboratory Technologists (MLTs) urged the public to act as if there was community spread.
President of the College of Medical Laboratory Science Sri Lanka, Ravi Kumudesh said though community physicians and epidemiologists claim that there is no community spread, it is however in the best interests of the public to act as though the person next to them was a carrier of the Virus and to take safety measures accordingly. He noted that the public should strictly adhere to keeping a one-metre social distance, use hand sanitiser and wash their hands as regularly as possible and wear a facemask.
Meanwhile, a top official of the Health Ministry said that measures had been taken by the Ministry to wrest the conduct of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests out of the hands of the Medical Research Institute (MRI) and other Government PCR laboratory facilities in order to hand them over to the private sector which was currently earning large sums of money as much as Rs 9,000 from a single PCR test.
The said official also added that all PCR tests at the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport were done by private sector hospitals. Currently the private sector hospitals were not earning much of an income from laboratory testing or out-patient department channelling and therefore it was through PCR tests that they earned large sums of money, the official said adding that even some of the testing which was done at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) had been wrangled out of the hands of its PCR lab facility and the MRI by certain persons who levied large sums of money when repatriating those living in foreign countries.
Elsewhere, a 26-year-old youth infected with COVID-19 who escaped from the Salawa Hospital in Kosgama on 23 October morning was later found at a house in Sahasrapura, Borella. He had been admitted to the Hospital at around 1.40 a.m. on 23 October. He is said to have escaped at around 6 a.m. on the same day. The youth is said to be a resident of Sedawatta, Wellampitiya. Other members of his family too were said to have contracted the Disease.
The Police Media Unit said that legal action would be taken against the youth for violating the quarantine law. Also, around 600 to 800 persons had tested positive for COVID-19 from the Peliyagoda Fish Market on 23 October. The Medical Officer of Health of the area Dr. Chandima Wickramage said that of the 1,176 PCR tests conducted on employees and those who had come to purchase fish from the Peliyagoda Fish Market on 21 October, 870 tests had come out positive for COVID-19.
A 100 random PCR tests were performed after it was discovered that those from the Brandix Minuwangoda cluster had been to the Fish Market in Peliyagoda to purchase fish. At the time, 49 of them tested positive.
According to the Director General of the Government Information Department, Nalaka Kaluwewa, the total number of COVID-19 patients from the Brandix Facility in Minuwangoda had reached 2,817.
There were 48 persons who were contacts and staff from quarantine centres who had also been infected. Further, five at the Galle Fisheries Harbour and 20 at the Beruwala Fisheries Harbour also tested positive on 23 October.