Delta variant of COVID-19 spreading fast in Sri Lanka
The highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across Sri Lanka and comprises around 75% of the new cases reported in the Western province, experts said, warning that the island nation was facing the most decisive fortnight in its fight against the pandemic. Notably, there has been a rise in the number of deaths and new COVID-19 infections across the country.
We are reaching sixth week of its effect: Dr. Jeewandara
Dr. Chandima Jeewandara of the University of Sri Jayewardenapura said, "Now we are reaching the sixth week of its effect. Unlike the other variants, this is different. We know that the number of deaths is ever-increasing, yesterday it crossed 150." Notably, on Wednesday, 156 COVID-19 deaths were recorded, the highest single-day number with over 3,000 new infections also being reported.
First five cases of Delta variant reported from Colombo
Sri Lanka is fighting the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first five cases of the Delta variant detected on June 17 came from Colombo. Dr. Jeewandara said that the number of asymptomatic cases is also on the rise.
95% of population aged 30+ received at least one jab
The Sri Lankan government has resisted calls from medical professionals to go for a total lockdown. The government's policy is to increase vaccination and keep the country open to allow economic activity. The government said that around 95% of the population above 30yrs of age have been given at least one jab. The population under 30yrs of age is also to be vaccinated soon.
Third wave may take around 20,000 lives: Experts
If the current spread of COVID-19 was not contained, the third wave may take around 20,000 lives by year-end, some experts have warned. They say that the country's health facilities have been overwhelmed already with the rising number of cases.
Curfew will be announced only if completely necessary: Official
The government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said that the lockdown will be the last resort in the current backdrop of increased inoculation throughout the country. "There is no plan for a lockdown. The curfew will be announced only if completely necessary," he said. Notably, Sri Lanka has reported 3,45,118 COVID-19 cases and the death toll stands at 5,620, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Four million people have received both doses of the vaccine
Meanwhile, the health ministry figures show that some 11.6 million of the 21 million population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Of them, four million have received both jabs.