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09th March 2020 14:58:48 Hours

"Security Forces-East with Medical Experts, Now Ready for Quarantine of Expatriates & Foreigners"-Commander

Media Release

Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army says the tri services once again shouldering the national responsibility of containing any possible transmission of deadly 'Covid-19' (Corona virus) in the country in close collaboration with authorities in the Ministry of Health & Indigenous Medical Services and the Ministry of Defence have now finalized arrangements to quarantine foreigners and Sri Lankan expatriates arriving here after accommodating at least 2000-2500 of them for a fortnight in two improvised quarantine Centres in Punani and Kandakadu, in addition to planned accommodation of 300 more in Diyatalawa as well in the event of any emergency.

To be in line with the government’s speedy preventive measures, being implemented as directed by HE the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, together with authorities in the Health Ministry and the Ministry of Defence, the Army has thrown its full weight behind this national priority.

The Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, together with Major General Rasika Fernando, Commander, Security Forces-East and all stakeholders, inclusive of Colonel (Dr) Shaveen Semage, Deputy Director, Preventive Medicine & Mental Health Services of the Colombo Army Hospital, Health Ministry officials from Polonnaruwa and Batticaloa districts, Senior tri service and Police officers visited those two locations this morning (9) in order to assess their preparedness, have first-hand experience and closely reviewed the entire final arrangement. The Commander on arrival received an update on the project, its logistics and readiness of the tri services to undertake the execution of this responsibility.

Hundreds of Security Force personnel under the Security Force HQ-East in the past 48 hours have been upgrading the requirements in both quarantine Centres at Punani and Kandakadu. Those makeshift Quarantine Centres at Punani and Kandakadu, furnished with all facilities are spacious enough to keep at least 2000-2500 persons arriving directly from Covid 19-affected countries for the two-week long quarantine process.

Those quarantine locations, equipped with necessary medical tools, Wi-Fi communication facilities, thermometers, laundry and entertainment facilities suit to medically-sound quarantine purposes by keeping each occupant for an incubation period of two weeks, together with 5-6 medical teams, equipped with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). These Quarantine Centres are now operational as per directions given by Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva and will have Sri Lankans and foreigners arriving directly from Iran, Italy and South Korea quarantined in these locations at the initial phase.

Those quarantine centres in Punani and Kandakadu were provisionally acquired for this national need by virtue of the powers, vested in the Director General of Ministry of Health & Indigenous Medical Services as the proper authority under the Quarantine and Prevention of Diseases Ordinance No. 3 of 1897 and regulations made there under. The Sri Lanka Army, giving due privacy and confidentiality to this quarantine process, meant for a set of our own expatriates and visiting foreigners while adhering to highest ethical conduct of the medical profession, urges all Sri Lankans to cooperate fully with medical and other state authorities to completely arrest any spread of this deadly virus in our land and honour the highest degree of confidentiality in this public exercise.

This mega public health exercise in the East, implemented under the guidance of Colonel (Dr) Shaveen Semage, Deputy Director, Preventive Medicine & Mental Health Services of the Colombo Army Hospital on the guidelines given by Major General Sanjeewa Munasinghe, Director General of Army Health Services, quite identical to the successfully-accomplished previous Diyatalawa process, is to be manned by a team of exclusively combined Medical Officers in the Army and Army personnel, together with a team of Public Health Inspectors. (Ends)