SL reports first case of new variant of COVID-19

2021-01-13 at 11:30

An arrival from the United Kingdom has been infected with the new variant of the coronavirus that is rapidly spreading in the UK and several other countries.

The Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Sudath Samaraweera when contacted by NewsRadio confirmed that the lab result of the new variant was released today.

Dr. Samaraweera however stated that the individual arrived in the island several days ago.

He said an investigative team of the Sri Jayewardenepura University led by Dr. Neelika Malavige is continuously studying the strain of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka adding that lab tests of bio samples of persons arriving from overseas were especially studied.

He added the individual was confirmed to have contracted the new variant through such lab tests.

While terming the finding as important, Dr. Samaraweera said the risk of the new variant is now prevalent in the country and said special attention will be paid to overseas arrivals.

The Chief Epidemiologist stated that deaths and cases could increase as the new variant is known to spread rapidly and noted the country’s health system may not be able to cope with the caseload if the virus spreads.

Therefore Dr. Sudath Samaraweera called for quarantine and health safety measures to be strictly adhered to.

The new strain has spread to some 45 countries across the world at present.