Sri Lankan Authorities on Wednesday widened a curfew and warned of legal action against those evading treatment for COVID-19 after reporting a growing cluster centered around a garment factory in the capital’s suburbs.
The number of confirmed cases in the country has risen to 1,022, while more than 1,500 people have been asked to quarantine at their homes, health authorities said.
“At the moment with the COVID-19 situation, the development of the new cluster in the Gampaha District. We have reported more than 800 cases within the last 48 hours within the country. We still aren’t over with PCR testing. We are still doing PCR testing. We hope that within the next 24 hours, we can complete contact tracing and PCR testing. So, that we can assess the risk of the situation within the country,” Dr. Charith Aluthge, Editor of the Government Medical Officers Association had said.
The Indian Ocean island nation had just reported its first community infection in two months on Sunday. All of the infected people are co-workers of the first patient, who is from the densely populated Western province, which includes the capital, Colombo.
Hundreds of people – both factory workers and residents – waited in lines to be tested on Tuesday at makeshift medical centres in the small town of Minuwangoda, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Colombo, where the factory is located.
Some who had tested positive were refusing to go to state-run treatment centers even after the government provided them with transport, Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said.
Police also widened the curfew in suburbs of Colombo where many of the patients live. Previously, the government closed schools, universities and imposed restrictions on public transport.
Local media reported that police and health workers were visiting the homes of factory workers on leave and were testing them as well.
The country has reported 3,733 cases, including 13 deaths. Of the total patients, 3,266 have recovered.
By Abel Ejikeme