Sixty five sailors all from the Welisara Navy Camp have been confirmed as infected by COVID-19. While thirty of them were identified on April 23, the others were confirmed yesterday, April 24th.  With 17 other patients also testing positive yesterday and three more today, the total number infected stands at 415.

Yesterday’s number is the highest recorded in the country since early March, when the first Sri Lankan patient was discovered.

Five of the sailors, said a press release from the Government Information Department had been on home leave in Ratnapura in the Hidilla Kanda area,  Polgahawela Udapola and Keeniya Pola in Kurunegala,  Girandurukotte, Pahala Rathkinda in Badulla and  Dambulla Athbodhiwewa  in Kandy.  While more are to be tested, reports of those tested earlier are expected today, April 25th according Army Commander Shavendra Silva.

Releasing a statement earlier in the day, the Sri Lanka Navy called on the public not to panic. While those on home leave are to remain there, those from the Welisara Base who are confirmed as having the virus have been admitted to hospital, it said.

The Base, which has about 4000 troops and family members, has been isolated.

The first sailor identified with the virus had been home in Polonnaruwa , while another was reported from  Wariyapola on April 23.

One of the patient’s outside the Navy group that is infected, is a pregnant mother.  According to Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Director General of Health Services, the mother had been admitted to the De Zoysa Hospital, but had lost the baby. Health officials have not yet determined the cause of the baby’s death.  Eleven of the patients hail from the Bandaranayake Mawatha locality in Colombo 12, which has since the first patient was discovered in that area, also recorded a high number of the infected.

Meanwhile the government is in the process of flying back Sri Lankan students studying in various countries.  While students from Pakistan and some from India have returned already, those in Nepal, and others in Coimbatore, Mumbai, and Bangalore in India are expected to arrive in the next several days.

The government also clamped an island-wide curfew which came into effect at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 24th.  It will remain in force until 5 a.m. on Monday the 27th.  Several districts, Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara and Puttalam have been under indefinite curfew for nearly a month.


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