New COVID strain detected in cricketer Moeen Ali’s sample
By Dilanthi Jayamanne
The new COVID-19 strain identified as one that matches the strain found in the UK belonged to a sample taken for testing from English Cricketer Moeen Ali, Deputy Director General (Public Health), Dr. Hemantha Herath confirmed.
Fielding questions at a Media briefing yesterday (13) he said the strain belonged to a cricketer representing the English team, which arrived in Sri Lanka recently. The players were subjected to PCR testing on arrival, and one of the team members, namely Moeen Ali, had tested positive to the virus.
Ali, who was to complete his treatment and quarantine period yesterday (13), was subjected to a few more days of isolation.
Dr. Chandima Jeewandara, Lecturer, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medical Sciences Sri Jayewardenepura University, said a COVID-19 strain similar to the one identified in the UK has been found in a sample tested by Prof. Neelika Malawige’s Research Team at University of Sri Jayewardenepura.
Dr. Jeewandara added the research had been completed two days ago and sent to the Health Ministry. However, Dr. Jeewandara also said the team was unaware of the patient details.
Chief of the Epidemiology Unit, Dr. Sudath Samaraweera told the Media the country was at risk and therefore close watch should be kept on those repatriating or touring the country, at this juncture.
He said the newly found strain was more virulent than the one which the country was experiencing at the moment. Therefore, the risk was that the virus spread could be a severe strain on the available resources while the death toll and the number of persons infected could take a leap.
Two passengers who arrived from the UK tested positive to COVID-19 on 22 December 2020 prior to Sri Lanka taking the decision to temporarily suspend flight arrivals and departures from that country.