(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The Defence Ministry has cancelled all leave and short passes granted to all Officers and Others Ranks of the Tri-Services with immediate effect and directed all personnel to report to their respective camps immediately.
All such personnel who are on leave at present should contact their respective Officers-in Charge with immediate effect in order to get additional instructions, the Defence Ministry said.
Signed by Defence Secretary Maj.Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne the directives issued to Commanders of the Tri-Forces said that the decision to cancel all leave granted for Officers and Other Ranks, was taken yesterday.
This follows developments at the Navy complex in Welisara and also the need to ramp up COVID-19 defences with even more vigour in the coming days.
Addressing the daily media briefing of the National Operation Centre for the Prevention of Covid-19, Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva said, 68 Navy personnel from the Welisara Navy Base and 27 who had gone home on leave had tested positive for the Coronavirus raising the total number of infected Navy personnel to 95 by yesterday.
So far, he said that 4507 persons have completed the quarantine procedure and returned to their homes. On Saturday 166 persons returned to the country from Mumbai. Currently, there are 3,053 persons in quarantine at Army and Navy run quarantine centres. By last afternoon 11 persons had tested positive for Covid-19. One person was in quarantine at the Kandakadu quarantine centre and the other 10 are Navy sailors who had been on leave.
He said that PCR tests had been carried out on a large number of naval personnel at the Welisara Navy base and those outside and their reports are expected by tomorrow. Some of the Navy personnel who had gone home on leave to Kurunegala and Anuradhapura Districts tested positive and the people in those areas are anxious. Those who had come in contact with these sailors and their families have been directed for quarantine. Several others have been put under self-quarantine in their own homes.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health stated that 17 more patients had confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus yesterday, raising the number of COVID-19 infections in the country to 485. A group of 113 students and Navy personnel were repatriated to Sri Lanka yesterday on board a charter flight. .
The returning group had been directed to a mandatory quarantine procedure upon landing. The Commander said this group will undergo the quarantine procedure under the Army and Navy. The government intends to bring back more students from foreign universities in the coming days.