Number of Covid-19 patients drops | Sunday Observer

Number of Covid-19 patients drops

18 October, 2020
Students entering Nalanda Girls School, Minuwangoda to sit for G.C.E Advanced Level examination last week while the area remained under quarantine curfew.

While most parties still highlight the ‘health’ impact of Covid-19, the ‘economic’ impact the virus has unleashed across the globe is yet to be estimated. Issuing a joint statement on October 13, ILO (International Labour Organisation), FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations), IFAD (International Fund For Agricultural Development) and WHO (World Health Organisation) predict that nearly a half of world’s 3.3 billion workforce is at risk of losing their jobs and livelihoods.

They also stress that the number of malnourished people, currently estimated at nearly 690 million, could upsurge by up to 132 million by the end of 2020.


These figures are quite alarming as Sri Lanka is now confronting a severe (as health authorities specify) second wave of Covid-19. The blow to the apparel industry came at a no better time with the detection of the first Covid-19 infected patient early this month.

Understanding the importance of standing together, the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association (SLAEA) issued a media release backing the affected apparel company.

At this time of crisis, while wishing all affected parties a speedy recovery, SLAEA urges the public to be more compassionate and respectful towards all families who have been affected by the unfortunate situation. This will have financial stress on all stakeholders and the affected apparel companies and its employees” it stated.

The industry which generates an income of over USD 5 billion annually is the single largest foreign exchange generator to the country. It provides direct and indirect employment to over one million Sri Lankans.

“As a nation, we owe much to the apparel sector workers, who during the height of the pandemic have discharged their duties to Sri Lanka, to bring in the much-needed foreign exchange to the country.

The apparel industry has manufactured Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as masks and medical gowns for healthcare workers and armed forces.

The apparel industry also stepped-up during the peak of Covid-19 by donating funds, equipment and providing facilities to quarantine centres” the statement further denotes.

Meanwhile, Media Spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, Dr Jayaruwan Bandara told the media on Friday that the Minuwangoda Covid cluster is yet at a manageable level with rigid efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

“All recent Covid-19 patients are related to the Minuwangoda cluster. Therefore based on scientific facts, the Ministry of Health believes that the virus has not yet spread to the community”. He said “We do not see an exponential increase in the number of patients”.

The Minister of Health Pavitra Wanniarachchi issued an extraordinary gazette on Thursday (15), turning certain Covid preventive measures into laws.

Accordingly, everyone who enters a workplace or place of business must wear a face mask at all time, maintaining social distance of not less than one metre between two persons, measuring the body temperature before entering the workplace, providing adequate hand-washing facilities with sanitizers, maintain a document containing the name, identity card number and contact information of each visitor, the number of employees and other persons in the workplace not exceeding the maximum number were gazetted as laws under Sections 2 and 3 of the Quarantine and Prevention of Diseases Ordinance (Chapter 222).

Police Media Spokesperson, DIG Ajith Rohana told the Sunday Observer yesterday that after careful observation, the Police will start filing cases and imposing fines on those who do not comply with the laws. “We are educating people on the new laws. We may have to take stern actions if they do not comply” he said.

He said there is no need to impose island-wide curfew. Sri Lanka recorded 5,305 Covid cases while around 1,956 patients are yet receiving treatment at 21 hospitals.

Among them, 1,901 were reported from the Minuwangoda Brandix cluster while 1,079 patients are employees of the factory and 822 are close contacts of apparel workers.

Around 316 people have been admitted to hospitals for Covid-19 symptoms and under are close surveillance.

Around 9,556 people are yet in quarantine at 84 quarantine centres. Despite the large number of patients identified within the first three days since the first Covid-19 patient of the Minuwangoda cluster was identified, currently the number of patients has reduced while the number of PCR tests have been increased across the country.

Minister Wanniarachchi told the media last week that the Ministry of Health has reached 8,000 PCR tests per day with the sudden upsurge of patients.

The ban of visiting prisons is still in effect, the Commissioner of Prison Thushara Upuldeniya told the media last week. However, the Prisons Department has introduced a toll-free telephone to all prisons to enable inmate to speak to their families once a week.

“Priority should be given to addressing underlying food security and malnutrition challenges, tackling rural poverty, in particular through more and better jobs in the rural economy, extending social protection to all, facilitating safe migration pathways and promoting the formalisation of the informal economy” according to the statement of ILO, FAO, IFAD and WHO.