Don’t allow tourists from countries where deadly COVID variant is rampant: NRC Chairman


The National Research Council of Sri Lanka (NRC) requested the President to stop allowing tourists from the countries where the world’s deadliest COVID virus variant-C.1.2 is found, including South Africa, NRC Chairman, Prof. Hemantha Dodampahala said.

According to foreign media, the variant is a result of numerous mutations accumulated in the C.1.2 line in the spike protein, which makes it a lot different than the original virus that was identified in Wuhan, China in 2019. C.1.2 has since been found in China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mauritius, UK, New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland as of August 13.

However, Prof. Dodampahala said the new COVID variant has the highest mutations above all the existing COVID variants and shows higher transmissibility and evades protection provided by vaccines.

He said the potential variant C.1.2, was first detected in South Africa in May this year and has been reported to have spread three percent in the country.

The COVID ‘Delta’ variant so read in the country by a person found in Dematagoda who came from India.

Therefore, Prof. Dodampahala requested the President to pay more attention to allowing tourists from foreign countries where the C.1.2 variant is rampant.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has not yet released statistics on the number of deaths in thise countries, including South Africa, due to the new variant and no new antibody vaccine has been developed as yet.

Due to current COVID variant changes that have occurred with the spread of the virus, have hampered the production of antibodies to respond to it, he said.

The Professor points out that the new virus variant is being analysed.

Therefore, if the country is to reopen for tourists, strict health laws should be imposed, Prof. Dodampahala also said and noted that a document will be submitted by next week informing the President that this should be done within a regulation.