Police curfew imposed in 5 more areas
By Dilanthi Jayamanne, Eunice Ruth, Thameenah Razeek and Naalir Jamaldeen
Police curfew was imposed in the Kuliyapitiya, Pannala, Giriulla, Narammala and Dummalasooriya Police areas yesterday (20) with immediate effect, until further notice.
Police Spokesman, DIG Ajith Rohana noted that the decision was taken after considering the increasing number of COVID-19 patients in those areas. He said curfew was imposed according to the instructions given by Director General of Health Services (Covering Up), Dr S. Sridharan.
“We urge residents of the aforementioned areas to remain at home, adhering to the curfew rules. In addition, vehicles from areas where the curfew is not implemented could travel through these areas without stopping. However, people living within the curfew areas are not permitted to travel even within these areas,” he added, urging them to return to their homes as soon as possible.
Furthermore, DIG Rohana said that the students who are sitting for the General Certificate of Education Advanced Level Examination could attend their Examination without any disruption.
Meanwhile, a total of 388 suspects have been arrested for violating the Police curfew.
DIG Rohana said yesterday that a total of 58 vehicles including 40 motorbikes and 12 three-wheelers were also taken in by Police. The highest number of persons was arrested during the 48-hour period which ended at 6:00 a.m. yesterday, since the imposition of curfew in certain areas on 4 October. He added that 86 suspects were arrested during the past 48 hours.
Police requested the public to wear facemasks and to maintain social distancing, even in areas where the curfew has not been imposed. He noted that facilities must be provided by supermarkets, offices and other organisations to wash hands and check the body temperature at the entrances of the relevant organisations.
Elsewhere, staff of the Teaching Hospital of Kuliyapitiya has been instructed to undergo polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests after a 75-year-old woman who was treated at the Hospital tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday. Hospital Director, Dr Prabath Werawatta said that the 75-year old had been admitted on 9 October with chest pain and had been discharged on 11 October. A PCR test was carried out on her on 19 October by the Medical Officer of Health (MoH) while the result that was released yesterday revealed that she was COVID-19 positive.
Further, it has been informed that churches can conduct wedding services, funeral services and other weekday masses with a limited number of persons, with the permission of the health officers of the relevant areas by strictly adhering to COVID-19 health guidelines.
The Archbishop’s House Media Spokesman, Dr. Camillus Fernando noted that the Sunday mass on 25 October will also be suspended in the Colombo District and that a further decision regarding the conducting of Sunday masses in the upcoming weeks has not been taken yet. The discussion in this regard will be held shortly, he said. In addition, religious observances in areas which were already under Police curfew will remain temporarily suspended, he added.
Moreover, an employee at Acuity Knowledge Partners Lanka Private Limited, on the 32nd floor of the West Tower of the World Trade Centre (WTC) tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday. The employee is said to have last visited the building on 8 October. In a tenant circular issued by the management of the WTC, it was said that the particular tenant (Acuity Knowledge Partners Lanka) had informed that its office had been closed and that contact tracing had been completed. Staff who had been in contact with the affected employee would be subjected to PCR tests.
In Jaffna, District Secretary K. Mahesan yesterday said that the Punkudutivu region which had been locked down from 5 October after a COVID-19 case was detected from this region was opened since yesterday morning. He made this order after the persons who had been kept on mandatory self-quarantine tested negative after PCR tests were performed on them. Previously, the conductor of a bus travelling from Kondikamum to Punkuduthivu tested positive for COVID-19 on 17 October after he allegedly came into contact with an employee of the Brandix cluster at the Minuwangoda facility, who had travelled in the 45-seater bus.
The Hirdaramani Group, issuing a statement, following the one it issued on 18 October when a nurse affiliated to the Group who had attended a wedding in the Divulapitiya area tested positive for COVID-19, stated that the management of the Hirdaramani Group confirms that the associate is currently being treated under the supervision of the Health authorities and is in a stable condition. Following the identification and testing of the associate by the Kahathuduwa MoH, over 250 close contacts of the said associate were tested on the same day. “We can confirm that all the test results were negative for COVID-19”.
Furthermore, a special discussion was held between Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchchi and Virologist attached to the University of Hong Kong, Professor Malik Peris on 19 October on the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic, its virological aspects and Disease management strategies. The discussion was mainly focused on preventive measures that needed to be taken and the control of COVID-19. Discussions were also held regarding the current method of PCR testing and the possibility of introducing novel testing methods such as Antigen and Antibody testing in a bid to increase patient diagnosis and strengthen surveillance. Specialists from various disciplines joined this meeting via video conferencing and amongst them were Health Secretary, Major General Dr. Sanjeewa Munasinghe and World Health Organisation Country Representative Dr. Razia Pendse.
Dr. Munasinghe and DGHS Actg., Dr. S. Sridharan explained the current COVID-19 situation with the spread of the Brandix Minuwangoda facility cluster. Dr. Munasinghe said that the total number of COVID-19 patients from the cluster had increased to 2,222 as a result of their cramped work environments, the condition of their current places of residence and their behavioural patterns.
Dr. Sridharan noted that the total number of COVID-19 patients had increased to 5,685 while the number of patients who had been treated and cured amounted to 3,457. The total number of PCR tests that have been carried out were 398,196. There were 21 treatment centres and a total of 7,295 persons were in qurantine centres.