While lockdown is an easy strategy, it can be oppressive for the people in the country to carry on their daily struggle for survival, says Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva.
The Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) mentioned this joining the TV Derana Breakfast Show ‘Derana Aruna’.
With reports of COVID-19 infections, what needs to be done is to identify possible contacts and contain the spread of the virus and not going for a country-wide lockdown, he said.
Three areas – Minuwangoda, Divulapitiya, and Veyangoda – were placed under police curfew as they were identified to be areas where the majority of apparel factory employees resided in, Lieutenant General Silva pointed out.
Following a discussion with the President on several points, it has been decided to maintain the situation as is, he added.
“Nearly 1,400 persons are employed in this company [Minuwangoda apparel factory]. Another 400 are engaged in sanitation services in the company. Apart from 495 among them, the rest reside in the areas where the police curfew is implemented.
The remaining 495 are with addresses from various parts of the country. As their services have been temporarily suspended due to the situation, measures were taken to identify them yesterday (05). Over 125 of them are currently being escorted to quarantine centers operated by the Sri Lanka Army.
The remaining majority are within the police curfew areas. That is why we didn’t go for a lockdown. Although it is easier, we have decided to move the country forward while controlling the situation.”
The Army Commander said that the currently identified COVID-10 patients from the Minuwangoda cluster, they are mainly from addresses in Ampara, Anuradhapura, Badulla, Gampaha, Hambantota, Jaffna, Kegalle, Kurunegala, Matale, Matara, Monaragala, Nuwara Eliya, Polonnaruwa, Puttalam, and Vavuniya.
“Considering the 101 identified [by 9.40 pm last night], nearly 150 including family members have been directed for quarantine. If there are any more remaining they will be directed this morning.
However, the most important point is that, while their families are from other areas, these employees have not returned home within the past 3 weeks or one month. Family members of all those who had visited their homes have been quarantined. Nearly 150 are quarantined in this manner. If others have visited their families they will be taken for quarantine before 12 noon today.”