Showing posts with label COVID-19. Show all posts
Showing posts with label COVID-19. Show all posts

Friday, November 27, 2020

COVID-19 and heart patient Shani Abesekara transported 500 miles within 48 hours

Shani Abesekara
While social media in Sri Lanka raised suspicions on foul play and life threat behind the actions taken regarding SSP Shani Abesekara, latest reports say he is being transferred from Polonnaruwa to Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH) in Colombo. 

The former Director of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is despised by the present government and he was arrested four months ago. The charges against him are related to illegal possession of firearms. There are suspicions on fabricated evidence related to the case but when a case is filed under Firearms Ordinance in Sri Lanka, the suspect has to stay in remand for a long time until bail is granted. 

Sri Lanka Young Journalists' Association started a petition to Commissioner General of Prisons Sri Lanka and 6 others seeking the safety for Superintendent of Police Shani Abesekara who is suffering from COVID-19 while detained in prison. 

The petition addresses Commissioner General of Prisons Sri Lanka Chandana Wickramaratne, Inspector General of Police - Sri Lanka, Dappula De Livera Attorney General, Human Rights Commission, Director-General of Health, State Minister of Prison Reforms and Prisoners' Rehabilitation Minister of Public Security also. 

Shani Abesekara was transferred from Mahara prison to Welikada prison claiming he had contracted COVID-19. On November 26th, he was transferred to Gallella quarantine centre in Polonnaruwa which has a low level of facilities. He was transferred to Welikanda hospital due to a heart attack last night. Bringing him back to Colombo means back to back transport of a patient over 500 kilometres on roads unnecessarily within 48 hours.

The online petition says that SP Shani Abesekara is an official who supervised investigations on controversial cases like the assassination of school student Vidya in Jaffna, double murder at Angulana, Royal Park murder, suicide attack against Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa at Piththala Junction, Easter Sunday attack, President Maithripala Sirisena assassination attempt and murder of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra. 

Sign the petition (language Sinhala) >>

Sri Lanka government mobilizes public field officials to monitor home quarantine

Sri Lanka government has designed a system of public field officials to monitor the home quarantine. 

So far, the home quarantine was monitored and administered by Public Health Inspectors and the police. People who undergo quarantine lack official support unless the neighbours help them. Previously, the society was afraid of the epidemic and the persons who were under home quarantine had to face harassment in some instances. However, now home quarantine is common and over 100,000 persons are undergoing it at the moment.  

The government has mobilised village-level field officers including Grama Niladhari, Samurdhi Development Officers, Agro Research and Production Officers, Economic Development Officers, Family Health Officers, Public Health Inspectors and police in the village level committees to monitor the home quarantine.

They will have to monitor home quarantine on a roaster basis, according to the government circular and attend to privacy, security and issues like special requirements of elders and persons with disabilities. 

A mentally-handicapped person committed suicide a few weeks ago when he was isolated in the house after his caretaker mother was taken to the hospital because of COVID-19. Public Health Inspectors were blamed for not caring for the requirements of the mentally handicapped person but the officials said they had been overloaded with work. 

The suicide of this mentally-handicapped person in Kahathuduwa and some of the deaths at home could be saved if such a mechanism was available.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Sri Lanka's areas under isolation since 23 November 2020

Sri Lanka's National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 has issued an announcement regarding quarantine measures since tomorrow (November 23). 

Following police areas which are isolated now will not be isolated since 5 a.m. November 23, 2020. 

Colombo District

  • Borella (sans Wanathamulla Grama Niladhari Division)
  • Wellampitiya
  • Colombo Fort
  • Slave Island (Sans Wekanda Grama Niladhari Division)

Gampaha district

  • Jaela
  • Kadawatha

Following police areas will remain isolated: 

Colombo district
  • Mattakkuliya
  • Modara
  • Bloehmandahl
  • Kotahena
  • Grandpass
  • Beach
  • Aduruppu Street
  • Maligawatta
  • Dematagoda
  • Keselwatta
  • Maradana
  • Pettah
  • Dam Street

Gampaha District
  • Negambo
  • Ragama
  • Wattala
  • Peliyagoda
  • Kelaniya

Kalutara district
Following Grama Niladhari divisions in Kalutara district
  • Bogahawatta
  • Bamunumulla (Muslim)
  • Bamunumulla
  • Korawala
  • Atulugama 
  • Galagahamandiya

COVID-19 woman who fled IDH found from Eheliyagoda jungle

Sri Lanka police found a COVID-19 infected woman who had escaped the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (IDH). Police are investigating the woman's associations.  

The woman was hiding in a thicket in Eheliyagoda and police found her with the help of the villagers. She is suspected of being a drug addict and a peddler. She was identified as 26-year-old Ruwani Nisansala who had been transferred to the IDH from the Kuruwita prison.

The woman fled the hospital on November 19 breaking a window. She escaped with her two-year-old baby. The baby was found on November 20th from Eheliyagoda, the woman's home town, and admitted to hospital. 

The baby and the caretakers have been subjected to quarantine. 

Nine deaths yesterday in Sri Lanka; highest number so far

Sri Lanka's highest number of COVID-19 deaths were reported on November 21 as nine people died increasing the number of deaths to 83. 

The deceased include five women of the ages 48, 69, 75, 76 and five men of the ages 57, 65, 89, 72 and 76. 

Seven deaths were from the Colombo city while one was from Wellampitiya in the city outskirts. The announcement by the Government Information Department did not mention the residence of the other deceased.   

The number of COVID-19 persons diagnosed yesterday was 487. The total number of cases recorded in Sri Lanka by November 21 was 19,771.   

Over 5,000 COVID-19 cases have been diagnosed from Colombo city and the majority of them are from Colombo North and Central Colombo. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Only one PCR machine in Sri Lanka's Nuwaraeliya district - MP Velu Kumar

Kandy district MP Velu Kumar
Sri Lanka major opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya Kandy district MP M. Velu Mumar said that entire Nuwaraeliya district has only one PCR testing machine. 

He expressed these views addressing a press conference held by the opposition today.

He accused that the government had not allocated money to increase health facilities of the poor people like estate workers despite their vulnerability.  

He pointed out that the 2021 budget proposal does not allocate money to buy even the COVID-19 vaccine.  

He said that the government had not provided any solutions to the burning issues of the estate population hiding behind the proposal to increase the estate workers' salary up to Rs. 1,000 per day.

Nuwaraeliya district has a high density of Upcountry Tamils who are mostly low-income plantation workers.

No trains in Sri Lanka during the weekend

Sri Lanka Railway will suspend all train travels in the island during the weekend of November 21 and 22 to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Sri Lanka government approves Rapid Antigen Test

Sri Lanka Health sector started the use of Rapid Antigen Test since today (November 18). The Ministry of Health gave permission to use the test, Dr. Sudath Samaraweera, the Director of the Epidemiology Unit said. 

The test is available in several selected hospitals. 

The report of the Rapid Antigen Test can be obtained within 30 minutes. 

Sri Lanka intensifies surveillance via drones; Many arrested


Sri Lanka Police Media Spokesman Deputy Inspector General Ajith Rohana said a special operation would be conducted by the intelligence units to nab the violators of quarantine regulations. 

He said that stern action would be taken against such culprits. 

He pointed out that the use of drone cameras for surveillance was successful. Ninety-five persons had been taken into custody for violating travel restrictions, he said. The drone operations have taken place in the Kotahena, Ja-Ela, Keselwatta and Wattala areas.

"The beggars who are begging at colour lights will also be taken into custody," the police media spokesman said.

Sri Lanka police arrested around 300 persons since October 30th for violating quarantine regulations. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

A photo published by an MOH office in Sri Lanka

Ketethenna, Pelmadulla

This photo was published by a Facebook Page named as MOH Office Pelmadulla of Sri Lanka's Rathnapura district. The description in the photo says that the covered corpse belongs to a man who arrived in a house in Sandasilugama, Ketethenna on November 16. 

He came on a bus from Peliyagoda, an area under the risk of COVID-19. The report said he had fallen in the compound of the house a few hours later and died. 

The text says that the body was sent to Rathnapural Teaching Hospital for PCR testing after a 'massive effort' with the support of the officials of Kahawatta police station. 

A wheelbarrow and few planks, probably a makeshift stretcher, are seen in the picture. 

MOH office Pelmadulla Facebook page

MOH office Pelmadulla Facebook page

Monday, November 16, 2020

Second highest number of COVID-19 reported from Sri Lanka

The number of COVID-19 cases diagnosed in Sri Lanka yesterday is the second-highest number of cases reported in Sri Lanka within a single day. 

The number of cases of COVID-19 recorded on 15 November 2020 was 704 (Health Promotion Bureau COVID-19 dashboard). 

However, 866 cases were reported on October 24 (WHO statistics)

Five deaths were reported on 15 November. All of them were from Colombo city.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Sri Lankan arrested for fake news on roadside deaths due to COVID-19

Sri Lanka police say that a 35 years old man has been remanded until 18th November after producing before the Kandy Magistrate for posting fake content that says the Sri Lankans are dying on roadsides due to COVID-19.

The person has been arrested from Egodawatta in Kadugannawa in Kandy district and police media spokesman Deputy Inspector General of Police Ajith Rohana says that four more persons who shared this post are to be arrested.

The police media spokesman said that only one person had died on a roadside due to COVID-19 and he was a homeless person.  

The investigations are carried out by the Cyber Crime Unit of Criminal Investigation Department.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Four Chinese workers staying in Port City diagnosed COVID-19 positive

Colombo Port City

Four Chinese employees working in a contract in Colombo are diagnosed COVID-19, health sources say.

China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) announced that the four Chinese nationals had worked in Kotahena in Colombo city and stayed temporarily in the workers' residences in Colombo Port City. Two Sri Lankans who stayed in the same residence have diagnosed positive for COVID-19. 

CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd said that the residence in the Port City used by these infected employees had been used only by the employees in Kotahena outside of the Port City. The employees of the Port City project have neither used that residence and nor associated these workers. 

The patients were diagnosed through random PCR tests conducted in Port City, the company said. 

The residence is now isolated.  

Sri Lanka government close to admit community spread of COVID-19

Colombo Lotus Tower

Health Ministry Spokesman Dr. Jayaruwan Bandara said that in the context of estimated 30,000 COVID-19 persons live in Colombo city, the country's COVID-19 level must be reconsidered and the attitudes must be changed. 

Sri Lanka Ministry of Health presently categorizes the country in the third level of risk in which multiple clusters of patients are diagnosed around the country.

Ruwan Wijayamuni, Chief Medical Health Officer of Colombo Municipal Council said earlier that there could be around 30,000 COVID-19 persons in Colombo city alone. 

Around 3,500 COVID-19 infected persons have been diagnosed so far in Colombo city alone. 

Mattakkuliya, Modara, Bloemandahl, Kotahena, Grandpass, Coastal, Aduruppu Weediya, Maligawatta, Dematogoda, Wellampitiya, Borella and Keselwatta areas of Colombo city remain locked down. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Sri Lanka starts to use high tech drones and helicopters to arrest violators of quarantine regulations

COVID-19 air raids in Colombo

Sri Lanka police and security forces have started the use of high tech drones and helicopters to discipline the people in locked-down areas. 

News bulletins showed footage of drone cameras and Air Force helicopters that spied in Modara locked-down area in Colombo city. Police and military personnel in large numbers were seen ready for raid and high power patrol motorcycles were shown entering into the areas later.

Police said that 15 persons who violated quarantine regulations had been arrested in raid. 

Police Media Spokesman Deputy Inspector General Ajith Rohana said to media that high tech drones would be used to spy the persons who violate travel restrictions. 

Sri Lanka spends over Rs. 70 billion for COVID-19 operations - Prime Minister

Prime Minister reading Appropriating Bill

Sri Lanka government has so far spent about Rs. 70 billion for tracing contacts, quarantine, pilot tests and welfare, the Prime Minister and Minister of  Finance Mahinda Rajapaksa said in the parliament at the Second Reading and the Committee Stage Debate on the Appropriation Bill 2020.

Sri Lanka has increased the number of hospital capacity treating the COVID-19 patients to 17 and the number of ICU beds for 600, the Prime Minister said. The capacity for conducting PCR tests has been increased from 7,500 tests to 10,000 tests per day. 

One test costs around Rs. 6,000 and daily expenses for PCR tests have exceeded Rs. 50 million. The government bears a heavy cost for food and welfare of the persons who undergo a 14-day quarantine.

The government also bears the costs of Rs. 5,000 allowance paid to the people who lost livelihood due to lockdowns and the expenses of the public officials who engage in COVID-19 related activities, the Prime Minister stated.  

According to Health Promotion bureau statistics, a total number of PCR tests performed in Sri Lanka so far is 627,011. Over 15,000 cases have been reported by now and over 10,000 of them have recovered and discharged from hospitals. 

Sri Lanka quarantined over 100,000 persons including more than 40,000 expatriate Sri Lankans who returned to the island. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Are Sri Lanka President's travel restrictions mere words?

President at the meeting of COVID-19 task force

Sri Lanka President directed officials to prevent travel outside of Western Province because COVID-19 spread more in the province. 

The President gave this instruction at the daily meeting of the COVID-19 Task Force held in the Presidential Secretariat today (November 11). However, the President\"s instruction was not highlighted in the President\"s Facebook post about the meeting as well as in the media reports. 

President told at the cabinet meeting held in the last week of October also that the country would not be shut down due to COVID-19 spread. Instead, travel restrictions would be imposed in areas the disease is spread more. 

A circular issued by the President\"s office on October 29 stated that Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara districts of Western Province were under travel restrictions. 

However, the travel restrictions appear as withdrawn with the curfew on November 9. 

Update: Army Commander Shavendra Silva said that according to the travel restrictions imposed on the Western Province, no one can go out of the Province until Sunday, 15 November. 

Monday, November 09, 2020

Sri Lanka government leaders making contradictory statements without working as a team - opposition accuse

Sri Lanka major opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) MP Hesha Vithanage said that the government has dropped the responsibility of control the second wave of COVID-19. He said that the government leaders and the officials are making contradictory statements without working as a team. 

Addressing a press briefing held in the office of the Opposition Leader, he accused that the Brandix company has not followed the quarantine regulations regarding their employees who were from India, according to his information. 

He further said that patients are afraid of the authorities because of the overuse of military and police powers. Therefore, the patients evade the authorities and sometimes die at home. He urged the government to change the policies regarding the control of COVID-19 for the benefit of the people. 

He said that the government was trying to strictly impose regulations without providing solutions to the problems to social problems like public transport and waste of farmers' and fishermen's products at the market. The government has failed even before the rice millers through their ineffective gazettes on controlling the price of rice. He further said that an institute of which the management was very close to the Rajapaksa family had made the return of the expatriate workers a usurping business. Similarly, the government has made COVID-19 also a business, he charged.  

MP Hesha Vithanage accused that the government was not managing the solutions for the problems because there was no election nearby. He said that the SJB would question in the parliament the insufficient allocation of funds for the Ministry of Health amidst ongoing COVID-19 pandemic through the appropriation bill. 

Hospital transport bus driver found dead; suspected of suicide in fear of corona

The wife of a bus driver of Sri Lanka who was found dead near his house yesterday (Nov 08) said that her husband might have committed suicide by hanging himself due to fear of coronavirus.  

The driver of state-owned Sri Lanka Transport Board transported hospital staff to Nagoda General Hospital of Kalutara during the curfew in the past week. The wife said that he had been in trauma after one person who travelled on the bus had been positive for COVID-19. 

"He was in fear that he would contact the virus and often talked about it," the wife of the deceased said.

The dead man is a 56 years old resident of Yatiyana, Agalawatta. 

Editorial opinion:

Contact tracing and other measures of Sri Lankan military, police and public health officials covered by media cause mental stress among some people and a more sensitive approach is required. Government has already changed policies regarding quarantine and all associates are self-quarantined at home now. However, the draconian actions previously followed are fixed in the minds of the people. Health authorities must attend to this issue immediately.   

Call 1926 from any telephone for help when anyone needs mental health support. It is the toll-free National Mental Health Helpline of the Ministry of Health.  

Sunday, November 08, 2020

12 police divisions in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo city isolated due to spread of COVID-19

Twelve police divisions in Colombo city will remain isolated although the curfew in the Western Province is withdrawn tomorrow. The reason is the spread of COVID-19 in these police areas.

The isolated police divisions are, 

Mattakkuliya, Modara, Bloemandahl, Kotahena, Grandpass, Coastal, Aduruppu Weediya, Maligawatta, Dematogoda, Wellampitiya, Borella and Keselwatta. 

White handkerchief marks protest against forcible cremation by the government of Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan civil society is silently but strongly marking their protest against the government's inhuman  forcible  cremation of a 20-da...