Health System on High Alert
By J.T. de Silva
Immediate steps should be taken to avoid the new coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa from spreading in Sri Lanka, President of Association of Medical Specialists (AMS), Dr. Lakkumar Fernando, said.
Speaking to Ceylon Today’s sister paper, Dr. Fernando noted there is concern that the new variant, known as B.1.1.529, has the potential to evade immunity provided by the vaccines.
Therefore, Sri Lanka has to take immediate steps to monitor those who arrived in the country from countries like South Africa and Botswana and if possible, such individuals should be prevented from entering the country, he said.
Dr. Fernando further said a border control programme should also be implemented to control those who arrive from South African region from air and sea routs, from entering into the country as well. If someone from South African region enters into the country, then there should be a mechanism to collect specimens and test them at the laboratory at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.
PCR tests should be performed on such persons and they should be directed to quarantine, he pointed out. Dr. Fernando also asserted the importance of obtaining advices from subject specialists like Prof. Neelika Malavige, Prof. Malik Peiris and Dr. Chandima Jeewandara regarding the situation.
“It is reported that this new coronavirus variant is spreading rapidly than any other variant that has been discovered earlier. The World Health Organisation is also deeply concerned about this matter. Therefore, this should be taken very seriously.
The specialists and scientists should be consulted on this, not the politicians. Immediate actions should be taken because if we fail to act, then the public trust on covid-19 vaccination drive would be damaged. It will directly affect the economy of the country, which is recovering now,” he pointed out.