Virologists are carrying out tests to determine whether the new cluster has contracted a new strain of COVID-19 virus, Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi told Parliament today.
Minister Wanniarachchi came up with this information in response to a question raised by Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa whether the new cluster had contracted a new strain of virus and whether it was of high viral load, as claimed by some doctors.
The Minister responded saying that “Viral load is high. Nothing can be done about that. Virologists are conducting tests on that. Even if the viral load is high, the patients will be given available treatment.
The military intelligence services in cooperation with health authorities are taking measures to trace the contacts and determine the origin of the new cluster. 4800 PCR tests had been conducted on Tuesday, while 1816 PCR tests are being done on the samples taken from the community. Health ministry has decided to use Dr. Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital to treat COVID-19 patients from yesterday, she said.
Responding to a question raised by opposition leader Premadasa about the reports that the PCR tests were reduced during and after the election, the minister said the government has been continuing PCR tests and added that 10 random samples are taken in all the Base Hospitals and Teaching Hospitals throughout the country. “The factory worker was also detected through this random test” she said.
The Minister, who responded to a question raised by SJB MP Harshana Rajakaruna as to why curfew was not imposed in the Gampaha District, said the curfew is imposed while monitoring the pattern of detection of the patients.
“It is easy to impose curfew and lockdown the country. We are acting on recommendations of the health authorities. This is an evolving process. We will impose curfew by monitoring the pattern of detection of patients. It is absurd to do it in the first stage. We are not going to inconvenience people and the state,” she said.(Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera)