Colombo, August 16 (DailyMirror) – Sri Lanka’s death toll from the rapidly spreading COVID-19 virus is fast rising with an average of 32 deaths reported per million by August 13, which is very high for a country with a 21 million population, health experts warned yesterday.
According to doctors in the forefront of the pandemic, while a high number of those who have succumbed to the virus have been above 60 years of age, there was a significant number of victims who were also in their 30’s and 40’s.
The overall death toll as of last night had surpassed over 6,000 while within the past seven days, over 700 deaths have been reported. According to official figures, 77 percent of deaths were of those who were unvaccinated, which had put them at risk to the suspected Delta variant which is presently causing havoc.
Doctors say this situation is likely to continue for at least two months but if people stop moving, then the situation can be brought under control, giving the much needed breathing space to hospitals that are presently overflowing with patients
Doctors will this week begin gene sequencing to identify if there have been any cases of the Delta Plus in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s death toll is expected to surpass 200 per day in the coming days and weeks, as doctors say only 15 percent of the population are still fully vaccinated.
These percentages are very low and put a significant number of people, above 30 years, at risk of being infected. This is the main reason why President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in a meeting with health officials last week, urged authorities to expedite the vaccination programme and finish inoculating all those above the age of 30 as soon as possible.
However, a significant number of people who receive their first jabs in the coming days will still have to wait for over a month to get their second doses and until they are fully vaccinated they are prone to the disease.
Health experts have warned that the country, till the majority numbers are fully vaccinated, is in grave danger due to the rapidly spreading Delta virus and have now urged people to impose a self lockdown and avoid all kinds of unnecessary movement in the coming weeks.
Doctors say this situation is likely to continue for at least two months but if people stop moving, then the situation can be brought under control, giving the much-needed breathing space to hospitals that are presently overflowing with patients.
Doctors said that according to a recent survey, Sri Lanka was currently recording nearly 80 percent of people’s mobility which was extremely high. This was also noted in a meeting held with WHO officials recently where the international health body noted that Sri Lanka was showing a rapid increase in daily reported number of cases and deaths and the trends indicate that the country could soon face a health crisis of unprecedented proportions.
People have been urged to practice all health guidelines and work from home as much as possible. Companies have been advised to get fully vaccinated and young employees to report to work, while work from home is highly recommended.
According to doctors, Colombo is the epicentre of the Delta virus, but it was now spreading in other districts as well. Doctors will this week begin gene sequencing to identify if there have been any cases of the Delta Plus reported in Sri Lanka, which is a natural mutation of the Delta variant when the transmission of the disease is extremely high. (Jamila Husain)