COLOMBO – The Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) on Tuesday (20) warned the country was heading towards a fourth wave of the novel coronavirus breakout.
Issuing the warning, president of the SLMA, Dr. Padma Gunaratne, told local media, the islandwide travel restrictions imposed in late May and for the better part of June, had not resulted in a significant reduction in the number of COVID-19 patients, though it had brought the numbers down to a containable level.
“Covid infections were brought down to a containable level as expected by the authorities by implementing travel restrictions in May. However, this did not result in a significant reduction in infections,” she said, warning that the country was slowly inching towards the first stage of the fourth wave of the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, medical experts on Monday (19) warned the Delta variant, which was detected in the country recently, may cause havoc in the weeks ahead, with Professor Neelika Malavige for the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, saying all adults need to be vaccinated to prevent severe illness and death from the Delta variant.
“We are in danger, as the Delta variant causes severe disease and deaths until the population is vaccinated,” she has said, identifying adults as being the vulnerable population.
Currently, Sri Lanka administers over 300,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine every day for those above the age of 30 years with 7% of its eligible population fully vaccinated. Medical experts have not recommended opening the country till all within the age group are vaccinated, noting that only when vaccinations are complete, especially on adults, can the country think of returning to complete normalcy.
Authorities have set a target to complete inoculations by the end of August or the beginning of September.
To date, Sri Lanka has reported 287,481 positive cases since the first local patient was detected in March last year, with 20,846 under medical care in various designated hospitals. Sri Lanka has also recorded 3,827 Covid-related deaths with 43 reported on Tuesday (20).