More than a thousand workers have tested positive for the coronavirus for three days in a factory in Sri Lanka which manufactured surgical masks for the United States until August, authorities learned on Wednesday.
Tests carried out after the discovery of a positive case on Sunday detected 1,026 cases out of a total of 1,700 workers at the Brandix factory in Minuwangoda near Colombo, which has become the country’s main source of contamination.
This outbreak brings the total number of cases recorded since the start of the pandemic in Sri Lanka, which has a population of 21 million, to nearly 4,500.
“One of the main problems that we have unfortunately experienced (…) is that a majority of positive cases have been shown to be asymptomatic or without showing any symptoms associated with the COVID-19 disease”, according to a published statement. Tuesday by Brandix on its website.
All the infected workers are hospitalized and the 700 others and their families have been placed in quarantine in specialized structures. The police imposed an unlimited curfew in the area and in neighboring towns.
“We are trying to trace how the virus got there but we may or may not be successful,” Sri Lanka’s chief epidemiologist Sudath Samaraweera told reporters.
Until recently, the government indicated that no cluster was no longer detected in the country. The first case of COVID-19, a Chinese tourist, dates back to January 27.
Fearing a second wave, Sri Lankan authorities have banned all public gatherings, closed schools for five days before school holidays and canceled a cricket tournament. The military has postponed its 71st birthday celebrations scheduled for Saturday.
Brandix, one of Sri Lanka’s leading textile exporters, delivered an order of 200 million three-ply surgical masks in August to a US customer whose name has not been released.
The factory near Colombo was involved in the production of these masks. Since August, she has been making sportswear.