Delta more rapid than vaccination drive - SLMA | Sunday Observer
“Take health guidelines seriously”

Delta more rapid than vaccination drive - SLMA

8 August, 2021

The Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) said that the country is almost into the Covid-19 fourth wave with the more dangerous Delta variant dominating the Western Province. “The situation could turn dire any moment if travel restrictions are not re-imposed and people don’t take health guidelines seriously,” SLMA President Dr. Padma Gunaratna told the media last week. Dr. Chandima Jeewandara in a twitter post on Thursday said that the Delta variant which is responsible for severe Covid-19 cases was spreading ultra-fast in Colombo. He said during the first week of July the percentage of cases found among the samples received at his laboratory was 19.3 percent and in the third week this figure jumped to an alarming 75 p percent.

Dr. Jeewandara is the Director, Operations and Clinical Services of the Allergy, Immunology and Cell Biology Unit of the Sri Jayewardenepura University Medical Faculty. The unit is the only laboratory where variants of the virus can be detected at present. The Government is upgrading five more laboratories islandwide to detect Covid-19 new variants with the country reporting a crisis with overflowing hospital wards.

Official statistics issued by the Health Ministry showed a sharp increase in the number of fatalities and daily infections in the past couple of weeks. Health Minister Pavithra Vanniarachchi told Parliament on Friday that over 570 deaths and 21,000 positive cases were recorded in the past ten days.

Official figures cited by her confirmed that nearly 20,000 children below 10 years had also contracted the virus. Fourteen children under 18 have succumbed to it

With 4,919 deaths attributed to Covid-19 by Friday, the death toll is expected to pass the 5,000 mark during the weekend. Daily infections also neared 3,000 with 2,792 new infections on Friday.

As the crisis deepened, the SLMA said the spread of the virus was more rapid than the state vaccine drive and this gap needs to be narrowed through limiting people’s travel.

The Government issued new guidelines on Friday restricting funerals and weddings. The circular recalling all state sector employees issued on the instructions of the President’s Secretary P.B. Jayasundera was also amended permitting heads of departments to decide on the numbers to be asked to report to work.

This measure is expected to prevent overcrowding in public transport. However, a spokesman for the Covid Task Force said that the country will not go for a complete lockdown as it was crucial to maintain economic activities.

The Health Minister said nearly 50 percent of the population will be given the second dose of the vaccine within the next two weeks.