The Health Ministry yesterday ruled out a possibility of the Welikada Prison transforming into a Covid-19 cluster or a second wave triggering off in the country after an inmate tested positive at the Welikada Prison.
By last evening, 600 inmates and officials from the Kandakadu drug and rehabilitation centre had been transported into the Kandakadu quarantine centre while PCR testing was being done on all of them.
Further, prisoners who had been transferred to other prisons from the Welikada Prison recently were also quarantined in addition to the over 180 prisoners from the Welikada Prison who are already being quarantined for 14 days.
By last morning, the Prisons Department had instructed all prisons countrywide to prohibit visitors until further notice. "We have taken all precautions and continue to monitor the situation, So far from the PCR tests conducted, all have been negative," Director General of Health Services, Dr. Anil Jasingha told Daily Mirror.
"There is no threat of this emerging into a cluster and no threat of a second wave exists. We are on the lookout and we have taken all preventive measures," Dr. Jasingha added. Many more PCR results are expected today after more tests were conducted on prisoners and prison officials. "As at now, there are very remote chances that we will find another case like this and also from society as the country is closed, but we continue to strictly monitor the situation," Dr. Jasingha continued.
The inmate who tested positive is presently being treated at the IDH. Former Speaker of Parliament, Karu Jayasuriya in a tweet yesterday cautioned people to switch back to the highest safety protocols in all activities following the prison inmate testing positive for the COVID-19. "Washing hands or wearing masks must not be a mere health ritual. Preventing a second wave is a common responsibility of the government and people alike," Jayasuriya said.
Till last evening, the number of positive COVID-19 patients stood at 2,084 out of which 1,967 had recovered and been discharged, bringing down the total active cases to 117. Sources in the government said that the BIA is likely to open only after the end of repatriations and after the patient count reaches zero. (JAMILA HUSAIN)