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India-returned woman tests positive for coronavirus in Sri Lanka; cases rise to 238

Over 3,500 people, including foreigners, remain quarantined in more than 40 centres across Sri Lanka following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Published: 16th April 2020 09:14 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th April 2020 09:14 PM   |  A+A-

Sri Lankan police commandos prepare to spray disinfectants in a hospital in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, March 27, 2020.

Sri Lankan police commandos prepare to spray disinfectants in a hospital in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, March 27, 2020. (Photo | AP)

By PTI

COLOMBO: A woman who was recently in India for a pilgrimage became Sri Lanka's first coronavirus case reported from outside quarantine centres, the health ministry said on Thursday.

Over 3,500 people, including foreigners, remain quarantined in more than 40 centres across Sri Lanka following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Coronavirus tests at present are mainly confined to those who are in quarantine centres.

A woman who was in India for a pilgrimage and had returned few weeks ago became the first COVID-19 positive case reported from outside the quarantine centres, Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said.

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"She is the only patient we have diagnosed (COVID-19 positive) outside the circle of our quarantine programme. All other cases came from quarantine centres," Wanniarachchi said.

Lanka has so far reported 238 coronavirus cases, including seven deaths, since the first viral infection was reported on March 11.

Dr Anil Jasinghe, Director General of Health Services, said the department has been able to prevent community spreading of the deadly virus.

"Still it is a long process as cases surface through contacts. We are keeping a close watch," he said, adding that 68 people so far have been "completely cured" of the disease.

A strict nationwide lockdown is in place till April 20 to contain the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, the Chinese embassy here said China has provided 20,000 test kits, 120,000 masks and a large quantity of other medical assistance to help the island nation combat the virus.

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