Thu, 06 Aug 2020

COLOMBO, July 13 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's health ministry assured on Monday that the country was not facing a second wave of the COVID-19 after a spike in cases from a drug rehabilitation center in the north central province which had now transformed into a cluster, and added the situation was well under control.

Director General of Health Services Dr. Anil Jasingha told journalists that this new cluster in Kandakadu had reported over 400 patients within the past three days and it could be well controlled.

"It is a challenge but we can do it just like we did in the past. People and institutions took COVID-19 very lightly after the re-opening of the country," Jasingha said.

Authorities said that more patients may be detected in the coming days as the counsellors who were employed at the Rehabilitation Center had also tested positive and had traveled to their homes. The army said contact tracing to identify the associates of the patients was ongoing in order to quarantine them for a mandatory 14 day period.

Hundreds have been taken into quarantine within the past three days for having links to the inmates and employees of the Rehabilitation Center, the health ministry said.

Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva, who is heading the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak, told journalists that with the Kandakadu cluster showing signs of developing into a bigger cluster, steps had been taken to convert the army-managed quarantine center into a field hospital. He however assured that the situation was under control.

Sri Lanka shut schools this week following the detection of the new cluster as a preventive measure.

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