Sri Lanka public told to stay home, cancel celebrations


Sri Lanka is on a dangerous track as a suspected new Coronavirus variant is spreading rapidly after New Year celebrations with younger people falling sick progressing to pneumonia and a third wave looming in the next two incubation cycles, officials said.

“To save your life and protect your loved ones, stay at home,” Colombo Municipality’s Chief Medical Officer, Ruwan Wijayamuni told reporters at a conference called by the Sri Lanka Medical Association.

“In the next two incubation periods, the disease can progress to a third wave. Daily cases in Colombo which had fallen to almost zero in March had rocketed up to 8 to 10 per cent of total tests conducted daily,” he also said.

Country wide cases which were around 150 before New Year had now shot up over 600 a day. Sri Lanka is also running out of capacity.

“We do not want to lock down or stop inter district travel. But do not travel unless it is necessary. If any trips have been organized for the weekend please stay home. If here are New Year celebrations please cancel them. If you act intelligently and avoid non-essential movements, we do not have to lock down”, Sri Lanka’s Army Chief, Shavendra Silva said.

Sri Lanka has isolated Kuliyapitiya following an outbreak.

“We will lockdown other areas if necessary. But there is no decision for a country-wide lockdown,” General Silva also said.

Whether there is a new SARS-Cov-2 variant will be known perhaps by the Tuesday or Wednesday after Sri Lanka’s Sri Jayewardenepura University completes gene sequencing work, officials said.

Neelika Malawige at professor at Sri Lanka’s Sri Jayewardenepura University said the SARS-Cov-02 virus is now confirmed to be spreading as an airborne virus and not just droplets.

A larger share of infected cases are now developing severe symptoms, Ananda Jayewickreme from the Infectious Diseases Hospital said.

“Whether that indicates the presence of an even bigger population of infected cases, is not clear. Don’t stay at home thinking it will get better this time, go to hospital fast,” he also said.

Doctors said patients are progressing from fever to pneumonia very fast.