What went wrong in Matara: Russian crew didn’t stay in designated quarantine hotel, says Army commander

September 25, 2020 at 11:31 AM

The National Operations Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19 (NOCPC) was not informed of the quarantine facility in which the Russian flight crew was placed upon their arrival, Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva revealed.

Commenting on the incident where a Russian national was detected with the COVID-19 in Matara yesterday, Head of the NOCPC, Army Commander Silva said the regular practice is to place such returnees from overseas at designated hotels, but the Centre was not informed in this regard, The Daily Mirror reported.

The Russian had tested positive following his first PCR test conducted yesterday, while he is set to undergo two more PCR tests in the coming days.

Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva furtehr said health authorities have assured there was a low possibility of other individuals being infected through the Russian.

The Russian was among a 15- member flight crew who had arrived at the Mattala International Airport through India on 13th September, and were placed at a tourist hotel in Polhena, Matara.

Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva said that a group of 49 individuals, 23 staff members of the hotel and 24 of their relatives, have been placed in self-isolation.

Meanwhile, a representative of the hotel in Polhena told NewsWire that the hotel was informed by officials from the Mattala International Airport that crew members are exempted from mandatory quarantine and are allowed to enter the country.

The representative said the Russians had conducted the necessary PCR tests in India prior to their arrival in Sri Lanka, adding that they had also undergone PCR tests at both the Katunayake and Mattala International Airports following which they were allowed to enter the country.

A Military officer from the NOCPC was in constant touch with the hotel, which was requested to inform if there were any health issues relating to the crew members, he said.

The hotel representative added that the crew members did not show any symptoms during their stay, but one member was detected with COVID-19 after undergoing a PCR test, as they were to depart yesterday. (NewsWire)