Multiple scenarios emerge in hunt for patient zero

By Vyshnavy Velrajh

Multiple scenarios have emerged in the hunt for patient zero linked to the Minuwangoda and Peliyagoda coronavirus clusters.

Head of the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 (NOCPC), Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva said that 80 percent of the investigations to find patient zero was now complete.

He said that the investigators are looking into at least six possible scenarios and once the probe is over the results will be made public.

Of the six possibilities, one is the possibility of patient zero being linked to returnees from overseas.

However, Silva ruled out that possibility as the quarantine process of overseas returnees is handled by the military.

The other possibilities are seafarers and pilots who are quarantined in hotels for short stopovers, flight crew members who arrive at Mattala or the Bandaranaike International Airport and are quarantined at hotels, ships docking at Sri Lankan ports or those linked to smuggling turmeric from India.

The other possibility linked to the Minuwangoda cluster is a Ukrainian national who had arrived from Turkey and tested positive while staying at a hotel in Seeduwa.

The Army Commander said that the hotel management had failed to follow the health guidelines at the time the Ukrainian national was quarantined at the hotel.

There are reports that some hotel employees had gone home and later reported for work.

The Army Commander said there is strong suspicion this could be the main source behind the Minuwangoda cluster, as no cases were detected in the country during the few months prior to this arrival.

Meanwhile, the Army Commander said that the main source behind the Peliyagoda cluster could be linked to fishermen purchasing fish from Indians and distributing it in Sri Lanka.

He said that all the possibilities are being investigated and a clear conclusion will be reached. (Colombo Gazette)

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