ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has seen an increase in daily COVID-19 cases even as officials say hospitals are running out of capacity while demand for oxygen is also on the rise.
Health ministry data as of Tuesday (27) shows a gradual increase in daily case numbers over the past few days.
“Most of the positive patients, we have observed, are showing severe symptoms. The need for oxygen has also increased with the growing case numbers,” Health Services Deputy Director Dr Hemantha Herath said.
“With that, the planned capacity of several hospitals has also exceeded,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
Patients that to not require ICU treatment will be transferred to other wards to vacate the ICU beds for patients with severe symptoms, said Herath, adding that the situation is under control.
According to health ministry data, daily cases have been over 1,500 since July 24.
On Monday (26) 1,665 people tested positive for the virus.
The Allergy Immunology and Cell Biology Unit of the University of Sri Jayawardenapura has confirmed around 30 percent of samples collected for genome sequencing have tested positive for the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
“It is clear that the variant has spread to all the districts in the country and we ask the general public to continue following health guidelines to protect themselves,” he said.
The official added that the public has a responsibility to not take the country back into a lockdown situation.
“If people act responsibly, we can continue to relax restrictions. If not, we will have to go back to strict control in August,” he said.
Meanwhile, Public Health Inspectors (PHI) Union Chairman Upul Rohana said the country is heading towards dangerous territory with the number of deaths and daily cases showing an increase.
“We ask the authorities to take adequate measures without delay to protect lives in the future,” Rohana told reporters on Tuesday (27).
The number COVID-19-infected children receiving treatment at the Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital has also increased.
Over 20 infected children and mothers are receiving treatment there, Hospital Director Dr GWijesuriya said.
“About two weeks ago the number of cases per day would not exceed two, but now we have a minimum of five children testing positive daily,” he said.
Wijesuriya said eight to 10 new patients can be found at his hospital every day.
Health authorities carried out 10,145 PCR tests on Monday (26), along with 3,454 rapid antigen tests.
Authorities have been unable to surpass the 15,000 PCR mark since July 06. (Colombo/Jul27/2021)