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Sunday June 26th, 2022

Sri Lanka records world’s fourth highest daily deaths by population amid lockdown calls

ECONOMYNEXT – As authorities continue to resist calls for a lockdown Sri Lanka has become the country with fourth highest deaths per million persons after Georgia and Tunisia and Malaysia among countries with a population over a million, an analysis of global data showed.

The island nation also saw the 6,000 death mark on Sunday with the last 1,000 deaths being reported in just eight days, compared to 15 days for the previous 1000.

The government is yet to lockdown the country despite repeated calls by exhausted health officials for a lockdown to control the epidemic related deaths and spreading.

Authorities said Sunday a curfew will be imposed from 2200 hours to 0400 hours from Monday as 161 more new deaths were reported.

“When the death count is more than 150 per day, I think everyone should understand the situation we are in,” ManilkaSumanatilleke, the vice president of Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) told reporters earlier in the weeok

“Whatever the government decision is, as individuals we must isolate ourselves and impose travel restrictions on ourselves.”

SLMA sasys deaths had risen 48 percent as of last week compared to the previous week while the covid positive rate has gone up by another 30 percent in the same period.

Wrong League Table

Sri Lanka, with a population of 21.5 million saw 160 deaths on August 14, or 7.43 deaths per one million population on that day.

The Indian Ocean island was just behind Malaysia with 7.92 deaths per million or 260 in total with a 32 million population, based on date from the data portal Worldometers.info.

Georgia with a 3.9 million population saw 50 deaths or 12.5 deaths per million on the same day, making it the worst in the world, while Tunisia with 11.9 million population saw 145 deaths or 12.1 per million, coming in second.

Russia suffered 819 deaths or 5.6 per million, Iran 466 or 5.4 per million, Mexico 603 or 4.6 deaths and Indonesia which reported the highest absolute death count of 1,270 deaths or 4.5 per million.

Sri Lanka’s neighbour India reported 491 deaths or 0.35 per million population, with its Coronavirus wave easing. Bangladesh with 178 deaths had a rate of 1.06. Pakistan with 73 deaths had a rate of 0.32.

However, it is not clear whether large countries with remote regions record the deaths accurately. Sri Lanka generally has rigorous rules in disposing of bodies and determining cause of death. In many countries rules had been relaxed due to Coronavirus.

The actual deaths may also be higher due to patients with non-Covid complaints dying due lack of adequate care or ICU facilities.

The only other countries that suffered higher death rates above Sri Lanka were small island state with a few hundred thousand residents or less, where one or two deaths led to a double-digit rate per million in some cases.

Countries that had more deaths than Sri Lanka included Fiji with 8 deaths with a population of 903,000, that worked to 8.8 per million, the island of Aruba with a population of 107,000 with 1 death which worked out as 9.3 per million, Surinam 4 deaths and 6.7 per million.

Isle of Man had a ration of 11.6 per million with one death and Sint Marten a ration of 23 deaths per million with one death.

Eight Days, 1000 deaths

Sri Lanka’s last 1,000 deaths were recorded in 8 days as the government failed to impose lockdown despite calls from doctors.

The government on Sunday said there had been 161 deaths during the 24 hours of the previous day, bringing the total death toll to 6,097. As of Sunday, Sri Lanka has 39,301 active cases in hospital or at home.

However public health inspectors say the actual infections are much higher.

Videos and pictures of overcrowded hospitals with some patients laying down on the floor, exhausted health workers, and coffins being taken in containers have gone viral in social media.

The government has said a lockdown could have detrimental impacts on people’s livelihood with more than one million Sri Lankans are being daily wage earners.

On Saturday, the government decided to import 100 metric tons of Oxygen weekly from India, after the health authorities repeatedly said there was no shortage ofOxygen, though individual patients have said they suffered due to delayed of Oxygen supply during their treatment at state hospitals.

Sri Lanka’s strict lockdown and active tracing and isolation during a first wave in early 2020 won accolades from the World Health Organization (WHO).

A second wave from August 2020 led to widespread clusters which was also contained to a great degree with locals isolations.

But the trend was reversed after restrictions were eased during an April traditional holiday.

The current wave of delta-variant led covid-19 pandemic has been spreading at an unprecedented speed in Sri Lanka.

The government is pinning its hopes on vaccination and has deployed military to supplement the health service and speed up the process.

Government data showed 11.87 million Sri Lankans or 54 percent of the population have got vaccinated with the first dose and 4.61 million people or 21 percent with both doses.

Doctors say a lockdown will give time to vaccinate more people and avoid deaths.

However the deaths now being reported are from infections that had taken place around a month earlier and a lockdown will reduce deaths only later.

Related

Sri Lanka to expand oxygen storage, boost hospital supply with concentrators: Health Minister

Sri Lanka to expand Coronavirus ICU, HDU beds, non-invasive ventilation in Covid-19 wave

During a previous wave the health service ordered oxygen generators, build more high density care units and also ordered more invasive and non-invasive breathing equipment. (COLOMBO/Aug 15/2021)

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