Sri Lanka's COVID-19 cases jump to 6,896, with 609 more daily infections

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COLOMBO, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- The number of COVID-19 patients in Sri Lanka jumped to 6,896 on Friday after 609 patients tested positive during the day, the government information department said in a statement.

According to the statement, a majority of the patients were linked to the Peliyagoda fish market cluster located in capital Colombo, while the others were detected from the Galle and Beruwala fisheries harbors in the south.

Sri Lanka has seen a rise in the number of positive COVID-19 patients after a new cluster was detected in Minuwangoda in the outskirts of Colombo on Oct. 4, when a 39-year-old apparel factory worker and her 16-year-old daughter tested positive for COVID-19.

Since then, thousands of PCR tests have been conducted in the district and the surrounding areas, with several small clusters emerging.

The Peliyagoda fish market cluster was detected earlier this week when 49 workers tested positive following PCR tests conducted in the area, where the market has been shut down and the police imposed a curfew. Police said this cluster had links to the Minuwangoda cluster.

The Gampaha district where Minuwangoda is located also remains under a curfew since Oct. 4.

Sri Lanka's Health Ministry has made it law for all citizens to wear face masks, maintain social distance, and keep hands sanitized. Anyone caught breaking the rules will be fined an estimated 54 U.S. dollars and can face up to six months in jail.

Out of the total 6,896 patients detected to date since the first local patient was detected in March, 3,644 patients had recovered and been discharged, while 14 deaths have been reported, the Health Ministry said.

Schools across the country have remained closed. Enditem

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