Sri Lanka confirms 321 cases in factory cluster

COLOMBO (AP) — Sri Lanka said yesterday over 300 garment factory workers are infected with the coronavirus, days after reporting the Indian Ocean nation’s first community infection in two months.

The Health Ministry said the 321 cases have been identified in the factory cluster after the first patient was diagnosed at a hospital two days ago.

The outbreak in the suburbs of Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo was identified despite the government saying it successfully controlled the spreading of the virus.

Trying to contain the outbreak, the government imposed a curfew in two suburbs where the majority of patients live, closed schools and universities, and imposed restrictions on public transport.

For over two months, Sri Lanka health officials have been saying they prevented a community spread of the virus and that the patients being reported belonged to two known clusters.

The country reported 3,471 patients with 13 deaths. Of the total patients, 3,259 recovered.

Meanwhile, India registered 61,267 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, marking the lowest daily infections since August 25 and driving the country’s total virus caseload to nearly 6.7 million. The Health Ministry yesterday also reported 884 deaths in the past 24 hours. The death toll now stands at 103,569. India, the world’s second most-affected country, has been reporting the highest single-day caseload in the world for nearly 45 days. The last three weeks have seen a gradual decline in its daily reported infections.

South Korea reported 75 new cases of the coronavirus as infections steadily rise in the greater capital area. The figures released yesterday by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency brought the national caseload to 24,239, including 422 deaths. At least 36 troops tested positive at an army unit in Pocheon, north of Seoul, while 14 other infections were tied to a hospital in nearby Euijeongbu.

There is concern that infections will grow in the coming weeks due to increased travel during the five-day Chuseok harvest holiday that ended last Sunday.