The Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) today warned the general public of the imminent threat of a third wave of the COVID-19 outbreak over the next three weeks.
Dr. Padma Gunaratne, SLMA President and SLMA Intercollegiate Committee said it was absolutely essential to take all possible precautions to avoid contracting the disease.
“There is a rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 positive cases, as well as the number of patients requiring hospital admissions, oxygen and treatment in Intensive Care Units. Doctors have also observed an increase in the number of positive reports at the lab settings. The numbers detected at random checks in the Colombo municipal limits also have increased,” Dr Gunaratne underlined.
“Doctors have also observed patients presenting with typical symptoms and rapid deterioration leading to serious clinical conditions. Possible rapid transmission also has been suspected. Presentation of younger patients with more serious symptoms also has been noted,” she pointed out.
She said the doctors working at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital had also observed the rapidly increasing number of positive cases of COVID-19 among children. Presence of a new variant with possible rapid transmission also was suspected following preliminary laboratory studies. The possible new variant was suspected to be a new mutation of already available Sri Lankan variant or a virus introduced anew from another foreign country.
“Therefore, it is important for every citizen to understand the potential disastrous consequences of a third wave, especially with a possible new virus variant. If the new variant is able to exhibit features of rapid transmission, there will be a flood of COVID-19 cases leading to a greater number of seriously ill patients, potentially exceeding the capacity of hospitals to handle them. This is likely to lead to more deaths,” Dr Gunaratne stressed.
“The new variant may affect younger population even more than the older population leading to more deaths of young people in their prime of life. As such, it is pertinent and vital that all possible stringent public health measures are strictly adhered to, by all citizens, to mitigate contracting the COVID-19 infection,” she said.
In this regard, it would be absolutely essential to wear masks, maintain 1 metre or more of social distancing and frequent washing of hands. It is crucial to keep away from crowded places. The best thing to do is to leave home only for essential needs, while adhering to all public health precautions,” she added. (Sheain Fernandopulle)