August 11, 2020
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    "Stick to Health Guidelines Further & Don't Believe Misleading Stories or Rumours", Urges Head, NOCPCO

    July 12, 2020


    "Stick to Health Guidelines Further & Don't Believe Misleading Stories or Rumours", Urges Head, NOCPCO

    Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Head, National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO), Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army and the Medical Specialist, Dr Anil Jasinghe, Director General of Health Services during a Media Conference, held this afternoon at the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) urged the public to be more cautious, adhere to health guidelines such as social distancing, etc and not to be carried away by false information and rumours since all authorities have throughout placed all true statistics and information before the general public from the day one of the outbreak in March.

    Tracing the circumstances that led to the most recent detection of the COVID-19 positive Welikada detainee, subsequent conduct of all 312 PCR tests in the Welikada prison as recent as 7th July as well as recalling how all health authorities and service personnel were battling the epidemic, particularly with the emergence of clusters in Suduwella, Aluthkade, Atulugama, Beruwala, etc and among sailors and expatriates while establishing more than 48 island-wide Quarantine Centres (QCs), Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva appealed the general public to continue to cooperate with all authorities as "great people' of the country who right throughout stood by all health workers and followed strict medical advice, if we really want to reach our desired goal, free from the epidemic.

    "Ministry of Justice-managed two Rehabilitation Centres for Drug Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation in Kandakadu and Senapura areas in the Polonnaruwa district have a total of 1150 detainees, inclusive of employees of different state agencies. They are not Quarantine Centres (QCs) but places where drug addicts and others, directed on Court orders are treated and rehabilitated. Kandakadu Centre of the Ministry of Justice, managed by the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation is the largest such venue for treatment and rehabilitation in the country and is in the practice of receiving drug addicts and other detainees for rehabilitation. A total of about 62 have also been admitted recently in this way. So, PCR tests had been carried out on all 1150 detainees and employees."

    "After detection of the COVID-19 positive detainee from the Welikada Prisons on Tuesday (7) who had returned from that Kandakadu Rehabilitation Centre, all prison detainees and prison staff in Welikada were subjected to about 700 PCR tests, but all of them were confirmed negative to the virus. On the same day (7), all individuals inside that Kandakadu Rehabilitation Centre underwent PCR tests and found 57 of those individuals, subjected to PCR tests, were confirmed positive to the virus. Of them, was one female who is serving the Centre as an instructor, but currently on leave in Marawila area. Soon after she was diagnosed positive, her parents, family members and her associates have now been referred to PCR tests, kept in quarantine by the Army and are awaiting results of those reports," Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva said.

    Commenting on the detection of a 11-year old COVID-19 positive child from Rajanganaya in Anuradhapura after an employee in the Kandakadu Rehabilitation Centre who was found positive visited Yaya-5 in Rajanganaya for a funeral and also the subsequent alms-giving, he said that all attendees to the funeral and the alms-giving, totaling about 230 individuals have now been placed in self-quarantine. " This episode has developed between 1 -4 July during his visit and all necessary precautions have now been taken in Rajanganaya after admitting both the father and child for treatment," he added.

    "In view of the numbers on duty and detainees at both Centres, both HE the President and Hon Prime Minister instructed me to immediately take steps to convert the nearby Army-managed Kandakadu Quarantine Centre to be a field hospital where some 500 COVID-19 infected persons can be treated, anticipating further increase in positive cases upon receipt of PCR Test results. Accordingly, as of this morning (11), all positive COVID-19 patients, confirmed positive are now receiving treatment in this new field hospital. It is believed that the infection would have been brought there by drug addicts who had been brought there on a Court order for rehabilitation a few days ago or by 116 visitors who had visited those relatives under rehabilitation on 4th July after restrictions were lifted. All of those visitors had been identified now and are now kept in self-quarantine. Some of those drug addicts are ill-mannered and sometimes behave in their own ways, irrespective of general rules and procedures and this behaviour would pose a setback to others, if they were to be admitted to other hospitals. That was why the Army-managed Quarantine Centre was suddenly improvised to function as a temporary hospital, " he remarked.

    "Possibilities of transmission of the virus to society are minimal but more infected ones could be found among those who were serving both those Centres in the next couple of days after PCR tests, I anticipate so. Similarly, more instructors and other employees of those same Rehabilitation Centres currently on leave have been identified and are being brought back for quarantining without taking any risk," he told the Media. Similarly, I very humbly urge the general public not to be misled by rumours or false stories doing rounds as the Government Information Department, COVID-19 Centre (NOCPCO) and the President's Media are always ready to place true facts before the public," he appealed.

    Dr Anil Jasinghe attributed the Kandakadu outbreak as one more cluster of patients and urged the public to be aware and cooperate with health authorities by following strict guidelines since the best quarantining is the best "weapon" to control those clusters.

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