COVID-19 outbreak can be effectively contained – Army Commander

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – The Head of the National Operation Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 (NOCPC), Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva expressed confidence that the current COVID-19 outbreak could be contained effectively. However, he said that a specific time frame could not be given but currently, all infected persons in the Brandix cluster have been identified and directed to hospitals or placed in quarantine.

Speaking to the Daily News, Lt. Gen. Silva noted that the Periyakadei and Pattithottam areas in Mannar placed under lockdown after several cases were reported, were released from lockdown yesterday.

The Mannar Bishops house was isolated earlier in the week after a carpenter who repaired the building tested positive. He had come after working at a construction site in Kirillawala, in Gampaha.

The Commander noted that Sri Lanka had managed to bring the COVID-19 situation under control during the first stage due to the effective coordination between the officials and the general public. However, he noted that although we had reason to be overconfident having contained the spread of the virus within a short span of around 50 days, this overconfidence perhaps led to people disregarding the health warnings and letting their guard down.

He said the entire Brandix cluster had been identified and they are all either in hospital or at army operated quarantine centers. “We had identified around 1550 cases and 1036 of them tested positive while 516 tested negative. Around 230 out of the positive cases are the direct first and second tier contacts of the Brandix cases. Around 300 members belonging to 475 families have been directed to quarantine centers. The majority of the infections are from Gampaha, few from areas north of Gampaha, 09 from Mannar and 08 from Colombo.”

Gen. Silva assured that all possible measures have been taken to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, adding that the next 7 to 14 days are crucial and the authorities would monitor the situation closely. He said that the government does not enforce lock-downs unnecessarily to inconvenience the people, but it is only if it is very vital that such lock-downs are enforced to protect the people.

Hence, he urged the public not to take the virus lightly and to adhere to the recommended health guidelines and cooperate with the authorities in bringing the covid-19 pandemic under control.

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