Expert claims SL has community spread
By Methmalie Dissanayake
There is evidence to claim that Sri Lanka has COVID-19 community transmission at the moment, said Prof. Neelika Malavige, Head of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Sciences of the Sri Jayewardenepura University. When queried if community spread of COVID-19 can be confirmed in Sri Lanka, during an interview with Ceylon Today, Prof. Malavige said, “Community spread is when there are individuals who become positive with no known contact. I think it is very obvious it’s happening now.
I am not an epidemiologist, but all my epidemiology colleagues have provided evidence that we do have community transmission now.” When asked about projections of international organisations regarding the situation in Sri Lanka and whether they are accurate, she said that the country needs to take the predictions seriously as they have shown to be very accurate in many other countries. According to the projection of Washington-based Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) Sri Lanka is in a critical condition with a possibility of reporting a total of 20,876 COVID-19 deaths by 1 September this year.
The institute predicts the daily number of deaths will also increase to 224 by the end of June, 2021, before showing a decline from July onwards. She further stressed the importance of current methods to reduce the number of cases, as Sri Lanka has a long way to go to achieve herd immunity by naturally (through infection) or artificially through vaccination against COVID-19.
“Preparing for a high number of patients by building hospitals and beds and improving ICU facilities is highly commendable. However, it is difficult to increase human resources and other facilities similarly. Although vaccines are the long-term solution to end the pandemic, they will take some time to work, and to immunise sufficient numbers (70-80 per cent) it will take a long time. Therefore, it is very important to reduce the number of cases, by methods we have been practicing all this time.”