Delta variant cases shoot up
By Dilanthi Jayamanne and Tharaka Samman
The number of cases infected with the delta variant of the coronavirus, shot up when several more were diagnosed with COVID-19, Deputy Director General, Disaster Management and Emergency Response, Dr. Hemantha Herath said. Dr. Herath, when contacted on Friday (23), said a total of 68 cases of the COVID delta variant had been detected from random sample testing.
There were more cases to be found in all parts of the country. “In other words, the variant had spread throughout the country,” he said. Thereby the number of cases which were at 38 at the beginning of this week has doubled. Dr. Herath said that the cases had been detected from Negombo in the Gampaha District, the City Limits, Piliyandala and Ratmalana from the Colombo District, Koggala and Karapitiya, from the Galle District, Iranamadu in Kilinochchi, and Poonthottam in the Jaffna District.
He noted that the Alpha variant of the virus had been identified from Beruwala, Galle, Angoda, Kotte, Kolonnawa, Ratmalana, Nawagamuwa, Mahabage, Katunayaka, Negombo, Matara, Dambulla, Vavuniya and Mullaithivu. Director of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine of the University of Sri Jayawardenepura, Dr. Chandima Jeewandara, quoting a study in China, said the viral load of the delta variant, which was first identified in India, was 1,000 times more than those infected with the original coronavirus strain.
Delta was first detected in the Dematagoda Aramaya Place in Colombo City. Dr. Jeewandara noted that unvaccinated persons were at risk and that it could lead to “hyperlocal outbreaks.”
Meanwhile, Director of the Health Promotion Bureau (HPB), Dr. Ranjith Batuwanthudawa revealed that currently gene sequencing was conducted at the Sri Jayawardenapura and Colombo Universities. However, the Health Ministry was focussed on obtaining the technology for sequencing for several other lab facilities including the Medical Research Institute.