If Omicron variant is not kept out: ‘Springtime’ will soon be over for SL – CMLSSL
By Dilanthi Jayamanne
The College of Medical Laboratory Science Sri Lanka (CMLSSL) warned that it would be the “end of springtime for Sri Lanka after several months of being subject to travel restrictions due to COVID-19” if maximum caution was not taken to prevent the new variant detected from South Africa from entering the country.
CMLSSL President, Ravi Kumudesh, said yesterday (28) that the new variant identified as ‘Omicron’ by the World Health Organisation (WHO) would be a severe setback to all efforts made by the State health authorities and the Government in controlling the spread of the Delta variant during the recent months. “We have been able to control COVID to “some extent because of natural immunity and the immunity provided by the coronavirus vaccine.”
According to preliminary research, it has been found that the new variant was highly infectious, while not even those who have already been infected by the Delta or Alpha variants could escape. Also, it has been found that Omicron was resistant to all existing COVID vaccines, he lamented. Therefore, it would definitely be the end of springtime for all should this variant also breach the barriers and enter Sri Lanka, especially owing to the lax attitude with regard to PCR testing that has been observed by the Health Ministry and the government authorities, he said.
He urged the health authorities to recommence on-arrival PCR tests before it was too late. Kumudesh said the Omicron variant had been detected in other countries from among travellers to those countries.
“Stop being intimidated by the hotel and PCR mafia of the private sector, and restart the on-arrival PCR procedure using the testing facilities of the Health Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority, which can perform the test and issue the report within three hours,” the CMLSSL President said.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry imposed travel restrictions for travellers arriving from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.