Delta variant prevalent in all Districts – DDG
BY DILANTHI JAYAMANNE
With COVID-19 cases infected with the delta variant being identified in several areas of the country, health authorities have deduced that the viral variant was present in all districts, Deputy Director General (DDG) (Disaster Management and Emergency Response), Dr. Hemantha Herath said. Fielding questions during a Media briefing at the Health Promotion Bureau,Dr. Herath said yesterday (26) that not only in the Colombo District but also cases with the variant had been diagnosed from the North, South and the Eastern areas of the country as well.
According to sample testing that has been carried out in the Colombo District alone, there were at least 20 to 30 per cent cases. Therefore, adding numbers with only sample testing was futile as it fails to give the real picture, he observed.
The 68 COVID-19 cases with the delta variant were from selected sample testing. “As to whether a COVID-19 patient is infected with the alpha or the delta variant cannot be identified at a glance. It requires more advanced testing to detect the variant. However, what the people must assume is that there are a greater number of cases with the delta variant of the virus and thereby that strategies of hand hygiene, maintaining distance, wearing a mask, avoiding public gatherings and crowded areas should be adhered to,” Dr.Herath said.
He lamented that that there were an increasing number of patients who showed COVID-19 symptoms and were in need of oxygen. Dr. Herath said Sri Lanka had been reassured by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that it would receive more doses of AstraZeneca in another one-and-a-half weeks or so under the COVAX facility.
He said the country had been promised a more doses of the vaccine by 19 July 2021 but that there had been a delay. The National Advisory Committee on Vaccination would also decide on an alternative course of action if the consignment does not arrive, he said.
The Deputy Director General said that the Health Ministry would ensure that those who got the Oxford AstraZeneca COVISHIELD first dose would receive the second dose at the appropriate time – that is when the immunity of the first was at its maximum so as to make sure that that the recipients received the benefit of the vaccine. A total 925, 242 received the first dose of the COVISHIELD jab, of them only 385,885 received the second dose.