Naval Base struck by Covid-19 | Sunday Observer
Irresponsible behaviour of people, the cause:

Naval Base struck by Covid-19

26 April, 2020
Over 4,000 Navy personnel and some family members living in married quarters at the Welisara camp were asked to self-quarantine last week.
Over 4,000 Navy personnel and some family members living in married quarters at the Welisara camp were asked to self-quarantine last week.

In the wake of a report that 65 Navy personnel were infected with COVID-19 by last Friday, Health authorities have taken measures to conduct more than 400 PCR tests to find more COVID-19 positive cases connected to the Naval Base, Welisara.

With the increasing number of cases in Welisara and the Bandaranaike Mawatha area in Colombo, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Sri Lanka increased to 420. Seven COVID-19 deaths have been reported and 116 people have left hospitals after recovery. There are 297 COVID-19 patients currently receiving treatment at several hospitals including the IDH and the Welikanda Base Hospital.

The Head of the National COVID-19 Operation Centre and Army Commander, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva told the media, that the Welisara Navy Camp has been completely isolated and that PCR tests are being carried out continuously. The Army Commander also said that a special program has been launched to bring back Naval personnel who had left the camp.

He said that the Ministry of Health is taking steps to quarantine all Naval personnel who had gone to their homes and their associates.

Meanwhile, the Police announced that a group of naval personnel from the Welisara Naval Base has been brought to the Karapitiya Hospital for PCR tests. They are residents of Dadalla, Galle, Ambalangawatte, Ahangama, Migahagoda, Neluwa,Medagama, Rathgama, Kandegoda, and Hikkaduwa Narigama areas and had gone on leave on March 18 and 21. Health Authorities have advised them to undergo self-quarantine with immediate effect.

However, five Navy sailors who were on leave are also among the infected. They are residents of Hindilla Kanda (Rathnapura), Udapola, KeeniyaPola, Girandurukotte, Pahala Ratkinda and Athabiwewa (Dambulla) areas.

In the past 48 hours, a public health inspector (PHI) reported to be infected with COVID-19 became the 416th patient in the country.

Nevertheless, the Director General of Health Services, Specialist Dr. Anil Jasinghe, told media yesterday that the recent outbreak in the Welisara Naval Base and the Sudewella area in Ja-Ela have not yet developed to a level of social transmission. “But finding COVID-19 positive Navy soldiers is somewhat sad,” he said.

According to the National Operation Centre to Prevent COVID-19, 4,376 persons have been quarantined and sent home by Friday (24) while 2,869 people are still under medical surveillance at 29 quarantine centres.

Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi also told media that as a government, every step has been taken to defeat the coronavirus and the general public now has to protect the country.

“As a government, we have taken every possible step to defeat the coronavirus. Steps have been taken to expand PCR tests, to establish quarantine camps and to improve the quality of hospital treatment” the Minister said.

She added, “However, within the time of the removal of curfew, one person on Bandaranaike Mawatha concealed the disease and finally spread it to others. Another person was found with irresponsible behaviour in Suduwella area. A large number of navy personnel who had gone to the area had contracted the disease. As a result, the disease has spread to a large extent”.

In an attempt to regain normal economic activities, President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa established a Presidential Task Force on Economic Revival and Eradication of Poverty last week in terms of the powers vested upon the President by Article 33 of the Constitution.

The main task of the Task Force is to guide the relevant agencies to create a productive economy by creating a unique economic framework for the country with a new approach based on the vision of Prosperity policy statement of the President.

Another function is to implement joint operations to establish a people-centric economy that encourages local industrialists and entrepreneurs.

With corporate and direct donations, COVID - 19 Health and Social Security Fund’s balance has now exceeded Rs 848 million. Donations are made to the special account number 85737373 at the Bank of Ceylon Branch. Both local and foreign donors can contribute to the account while donations through legitimate accounts are exempt from tax and foreign exchange regulations.

Meanwhile, SriLankan Airlines announced yesterday the extension of its travel restrictions until 15 May. However, SriLankan continues to operate its air cargo network to provide essential medicines, medical resources and equipment and essential services to support the government in the battle against COVID-19.