By Sandun A Jayasekera
The detection of Covid-19 cases could go beyond the Vesak festival (May 4 - 8) as the health authorities continue to find new infections almost on a daily basis from among Naval ratings, Health Services Director General Dr. Anil Jasinghe said yesterday.
However, the Department of Buddhist Affairs yesterday declared a National Vesak Week from Monday, May 4 to 8. In order to increase the number of detection of infected persons, Random Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests would be started in the Western Province and Puttalam District, identified as vulnerable areas from today to detect those who have been infected but not aware of the infection as the victim does not show symptoms, Dr. Jasinghe added.
“We start at grass roots level employees of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) and three wheeler drivers as they constantly get exposed to the environment,” Dr. Jasinghe said.
Dr. Jasinghe said the infections in clusters have been brought under control and expressed hope that there will be no infections in big numbers in the days to come. The Health Ministry had increased the PCR tests to 1,500 per day and on Thursday alone, 1,397 tests had been done.
Commenting on the 16 infections detected on Thursday night, he said 9 among the 16 were Naval ratings, four from Oluwil quarantine centre who are residence of Suduwella, two from Dabare Mawatha at Narahenpita and another 5 from Suduwella.
In a positive development, in the fight against the viral infection, only 3 Covid-19 victim was detected by late afternoon yesterday while the number of total infections remained at 668 with the 16 detections reported on Thursday.
Chief of Defence Staff and Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva said due to the relentless efforts of the health authorities, armed forces and the Police, the Covid-19 threat was receding steadily and added however, the danger still remains. General Silva said 354 Covid-19 cases were Naval ratings and 173 of them had been detected from naval camps and others while on leave.
District wise, there were 157 patients with viral infections in hospitals in Colombo yesterday, 65 in Kalutara, 47 in Gampaha, 41 in Puttalam, 23 in Kurunegala, 16 in Jaffna, 15 in Kandy, 12 in Anuradhapura, 8 in Kegalle and Ratnapura, 4 in Monaragala, 3 in Hambantota and Badulla, two each in Matara, Kalmunai, Vavuniya, Trincomalee and one each in Galle, Batticaloa, Matale, Polonnaruwa and Ampara Districts totaling the number of those under hospital treatment at 619.
Twenty one factories at the Boralugoda, Horana BOI zone were closed after a supervisor of a cafeteria in a reputed factory was tested positive for Covid-19.