ECONOMYNEXT – As vaccination continues, a majority of new COVID-19 cases in Sri Lanka in the coming days will be among the fully vaccinated, a health official said, asking people to brace themselves for a possible lockdown come end December.
Deputy Director General of Health Services Dr Hemantha Herath told reporters on Tuesday (23) that health authorities may impose strict restrictions by the end of the year with the coming Christmas season in mind and anticipating a spike in new cases.
“It won’t be a surprise if authorities declare strict travel restrictions or a lockdown in the coming festival season given the increase in public movement,” he said.
Speaking to EconomyNext, Herath said with the more people being vaccinated in the country, new infections and any deaths will inevitably be people who have received one or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“If we have vaccinated 100 percent of the population, any new patients we find will be people who have been vaccinated. A majority of deaths may also be those who have been vaccinated but had low immunity due to comorbidities.”
According to official data, Sri Lanka has vaccinated more than 62 percent of the total population as of Tuesday.
Herath could not confirm what percentage of the current active cases in Sri Lanka are vaccinated.
“But in the coming days, a majority can be those who have been jabbed,” he said.
“Not only patients in hospital wards, but a majority in intensive care units (ICUs) can also be vaccinated but experiencing severe conditions due to other health issues,” he reiterated.
Health officials confirmed 735 new cases on Monday (22) with 31 deaths also confirmed for the previous day, an increase of 11 from the day prior.
With the new patients, total cases in Sri Lanka since March 2020 have increased to 558,120 with 16,434 active ceases.
With the home based treatment method in place only around 50 percent of the active cases who need medical attention are currently receiving treatment at hospitals.
Despite the surge in patient numbers, Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa said on Tuesday that the health ministry has given the go ahead to host a limited number of spectators at the upcoming Lanka Premier League (LPL) cricket tournament.
The approval also includes permission for limited crowds to be allowed at the ongoing test tournament between West Indies and Sri Lanka in Galle, the minister said.
The test tournament began on November 21, with the final to be played on December 03.
“I have not been officially informed about the Director General of Health giving such permission for a crowd gathering,” Herath told EconomyNext.
“Maybe he gave a special permission for that. However, as heath sector workers, my personnel opinion is that it is absolutely not suitable to give permission for such an event in the current situation.
“According to the guidelines I have received so far, no permission has been given for any kind of gathering for sports or festivals,” he said. (Colombo/Nov23/2021)