Thirty-six quarantine law violators arrested | Sunday Observer

Thirty-six quarantine law violators arrested

18 October, 2020

Thirty-six quarantine law violators were arrested yesterday increasing the total number to 203, a police media spokesman told the Sunday Observer.

This is a sequel to the health authorities, police and Tri-Forces continuing to control the spread of Covid-19 to the community.

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi told the media yesterday that the country has still not reached a community spread, and since the country is not under a lockdown it cannot be guaranteed.

She said the newly detected cases are directly linked to the Minuwangoda Brandix cluster but called upon the public to follow health protocols to tackle the spread.

The authorities also took steps yesterday to shut down the Colombo Port partially after two workers of the dockyard tested Covid-19 positive.

The Government this week issued a Gazette notification on Covid-19 preventive regulations giving the authorities the green light to fine and imprison those who violate health protocols including wearing masks and maintaining a one metre distance between two people in public areas. (See page 7 for Gazette notification)

Accordingly, the authorities could slap a fine of Rs. 10,000 or sentence a person to six months in prison if found guilty.

The law ensures that employees and people entering workplaces wear face masks and body temperature is checked before entering the premises, and that hand washing and sanitising facilities are provided. Another requirement is to maintain the name, identity card number and contact details of every person entering an institution or a workplace.

Drivers and conductors of public buses have also been called upon to maintain health protocols as the country aggressively tries to neutralise the new cluster of Covid-19 patients, the biggest number recorded to date with active cases reaching 1,956 yesterday noon, and 9,415 undergoing quarantine in 86 centres of the Tri-Forces, according to the National Operation Centre for Prevention of Covid-19 Outbreak.

Police arrested over 30 for violating curfew regulations on Friday, and this brings the number to 203 arrested.

The total number of active cases includes 71 overseas returnees receiving treatment in hotels, and 1,885 employees of the Minuwangoda Brandix facility and their close contacts. The breakdown of the new cluster by yesterday noon is as follows; 1,041 Brandix employees and 860 close contacts of these employees.

The total number of patients reported by 2pm yesterday was 5,353 including the 110 patients detected on Friday (16) who were all from the Minuwangoda Brandix cluster, and 1,538 overseas cases. Thirteen people died after contracting the virus. Health authorities conducted 7,675 PCR tests on Friday and were awaiting results from 673 tests. So far, 374,448 PCR tests have been conducted across the island since the outbreak.

The new cluster was reported simultaneously as the last patients of the previous cluster from the Sri Lanka Navy were discharged from hospitals. A female worker was tested positive on October 4 and that led to the detection of other patients, mostly asymptomatic.

Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Sudath Samaraweera said she may not have been the first case and warned that the newly detected patients had a virulent strain of the virus attack that can be highly contagious.

Since the outbreak, patients were detected from over 20 districts, mostly middle-aged and older people. The authorities imposed curfew in areas where most of the patients were traced.

A spokesperson for the Health Ministry, Dr. Jayaruwan Bandara told the media that their approach to contain the virus this time remains the same as before, which was to trace, isolate and provide swift treatment to patients.

A spokesman for the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) on Friday said it had warned a leading private hospital in Colombo after it sold essential medicines at a higher price than the prescribed maximum retail price.

The authorities imposed a lockdown in six villages in Rambukkana after two Covid-19 patients were found. Shops, restaurants and pharmacies will remain closed today in curfew-imposed areas, Police Media Spokesman DIG Ajith Rohana said.

This week under the Saubagya Covid-19 Renaissance Facility, the government approved Rs.178 billion of credit given to Covid-19 affected businesses surpassing its Rs. 150 billion limit. The credit is given through commercial lenders by the Central Bank.

Phase I of the Loan Scheme was implemented from April 1, 2020, the Central Bank stated in a press release adding that both Phase II and III of the Loan Scheme were introduced from July 1, 2020.

“The aim of these schemes was to provide Rs. 150 billion as working capital loans at an interest rate of 4 per cent per annum. These loans enjoyed a repayment period of 24 months, including a grace period of six months. The recipients were businesses, including self-employment and individuals, adversely affected by the Covid-19 outbreak,” it added.