Intelligence units have reportedly found the origin of the Minuwanga cluster, which has become the biggest cluster found so far in the country, which ultimately led to the 2nd wave of the epidemic in the country.
According to Intelligence sources, the origin had been a Ukrainian flight crew who were quarantined at a hotel in Seeduwa.
The ‘Aruna’ newspaper notes that the relevant Intelligence report has been handed over to the security council including president Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
The Ukrainian crew arrived in Sri Lanka on September 11 and one crew member had been admitted to the IDH after testing positive on Sep. 13. PCR testing had followed this discovery.
As per Covid-19 regulations, hotels accommodating quarantined individuals cannot allow their staff to leave the hotel premises.
However, 18 staff members of the 60-strong hotel staff had commuted to work from their homes from Sep. 11-13, neglecting these regulations.
Hotel staff contracts Covid-19
Five out of the hotel staff who had thus commuted to work were soon detected with Covid-19 and 03 of them had worked from Sep. 11 – 13 which included the chef and the one who was in charge of laundry.
The report had stated that the load of the Covid-19 strain present in these patients were much higher than previously seen in the country. The first Covid-19 patient discovered from Brandix had a virus load of 29% – 31% as opposed to a virus load of 15% – 18% seen in patients of the first wave.
Senior officers in part of this investigation have revealed that Covid-19 infected employees of the aforementioned hotel had spread the virus to Brandix employees.
It has been further revealed that one Covid-19 contracted employee of this hotel had commuted daily from Chilaw to Seeduwa via public transport.
Sep 16 : Covid-19 surfaces at Brandix
On Oct. 05, the first Covid-19 case from the Brandix apparel factory was reported. She had displayed symptoms from around Sep. 21 and it is thought she had contracted the disease around Sep. 16.
Also, it was initially reported that the cluster had sparked from a group of Brandix employees brought down to Mattala from Visakhapatnam, India on Sep. 22.
However, it was later learnt that they were already quarantined at a hotel in the southern region when the 2nd wave had sparked.
Oct 07 : Hard to find origin
Speaking at a media briefing on Oct. 07, Army Commander – Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva addressed a media briefing at the Department of Govt. Information and stated that finding the cluster origin was complicated at the moment.
Meanwhile, president of the Sri Lanka Association of Government Medical Laboratory Technologists (SLGMLT) has charged that laboratory bigwigs who secured their own finances after allowing private PCR testing as well as health authorities who looked on while allowing ‘luxury quarantine’ at star hotels should be responsible.
However, trade unions have also slammed Brandix chief Omar Ashroff for the spread of the 2nd wave.
They charge that workers at Brandix were driven to work continuously despite being unwell.
Anton Marcus, the Joint Secretary of the Free Trade Zone & General Services Employees’ Union (FTZ&GSEU) had stated that the Minuwangoda Brandix Lanka factory tragedy speaks volumes of how the workers had been used as modern-day slaves.
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