Colombo, Nov 30 (DailyMirror) – Health experts have stepped up the frequency of sequencing to identify if the new Omicron COVID-19 variant has already entered the country while doctors on the ground said they are preparing for the worst.
Several countries have already shut their borders for international travellers while Sri Lanka has also announced a temporary ban on travellers from some African countries including South Africa.
But with more countries now announcing the detection of the Omicron variant in their countries, local doctors on the ground told Daily Mirror they suspect the variant may have entered and if it has not, then it is just a matter of time.
Prof. Neelika Malavige, Head of Department of Immunology and Molecular Biology of University of Sri Jayewardenapura told Daily Mirror that the frequency of sequencing had increased and if the variant is found in Sri Lanka then it will help them to study the variant as well. She added international scientists were still studying the new variant and they were awaiting details to identify if it had a higher transmission than the Delta variant.
Health experts have urged people to follow all health guidelines very strictly, such as wearing face masks even while in the vehicle and avoid gathering in public places.
Doctors said they were also racing against time to administer the booster doses on all those above 60 years of age as soon as possible so that if the Omicron is declared ‘nasty’ and enters the country, then Sri Lanka will be prepared to face the worst.all those above 60 years and those with comorbidity’s have been urged to visit vaccination centres and get their doses as soon as possible.
Omicron has already been declared as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization while globally more details are awaited to see if Omicron will cause a fresh wave of infections and if it will pass the vaccine efficacy.
The WHO announced yesterday that the overall risk related to Omicron is considered very high and could lead to severe consequences in some regions.